Spiritual Inbreeding

Symptoms of an Ingrown Church

Every church and grouping of churches has strong points...and weak points. When a church ceases to grow in "grace and knowledge" it becomes ingrown. At this stage, congregations are subjected to a steady diet of slogans, mantras, rants, and a rehashing of pet doctrines/standards. Anything different is viewed with either suspicion or contempt. The wagons are circled with the vain hope the "good ole days" will soon return. But ingrown churches do not win converts.

 When all freshness is removed, it tends toward an unhealthy isolation which produces spiritual inbreeding. When humans reproduce with close kin the result is what some have coined "freaks of nature." A narrowed gene pool does not produce healthy offspring. Apart from a BALANCED spiritual diet you end up with "freaks of grace." The process is so subtle and gradual that those caught in the downgrade are often unaware.

Several groups were meeting at a conference center. One of the groups apparently taught that it was sinful for women to cut their hair. These women all donned identical apparel and their unshorn hair reached the ankles. I am sure this seemed "normal" to those in the group. Now people can do whatever they choose, but to those on the outside it sure looked strange. Spiritual incest often leads to extremes. God's people are "peculiar", but when they look like the latest entry in Ripley's Believe It or Not some moderation may be needed.

A friend related how he heard the president of a Christian Institution of Higher-learning remark in Chapel, "I am not opposed to black people—I think everyone should own a couple." This tripe was overlooked because the school is located "in the south." A biblical corrective was never voiced from the "good-ole boy network." This 'form of ungodliness' was passed on to the students from the top down. Geographic location is not an excuse for racism.

A woman went full-bore on a health-food kick. She immersed herself with the back-to-nature gurus. She read that ingesting poison oak would make a person immune from effects of the poison plant. She ate it and just about died from an infected GI tract! Again, a broader perspective would not have hurt.

Whatever culture, secular or religious, a person grows up in appears "normal" because that is all they have known. I grew up in south central Virginia where lots of people grew tobacco for a living. Even the preachers who took the  "strongest stands" were strangely silent on this highly addictive and harmful substance. One broke the silence and commented that a Christian should not smoke, but should tithe the proceeds from his crop to his local church. Talk about adapting to the culture!

 I am well aware of the massive problem of churches syncing with the spirit of the age and abandoning truth. But many who are adamantly opposed to adjusting to the culture to win people are blind to how immersed they are in their own culture. They are all about their culture—their preferences and prejudices.

 God has given a variety of spiritual (motivational) gifts to the church to save it from spiritual inbreeding. Strumming the same string does not produce mature believers. We have an inexhaustible well of Truth that produces Trophies of grace, not freaks.

Harold Vaughan

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  1. Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

    To be like Jesus seeing the fields ripe for harvest, 7 billion souls of which 2 billion are 20 years old and under. Now is the time to let our light shine and be the salt of the earth.

    Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
    Now is the day of salvation, night comes when no man shall work.

    Mt 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
    Mt 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:
    Joh 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

    Reply to Bobby Booth
  2. Pastor Darren Meadows
    Jul 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    This is so true. Churches that automatically turn their noses up to something new, whatever it may be, without trying the spirit of it against the doctrines of the Bible miss out on so much teaching and chances of spiritual growth. Many times it is a fresh perspective on the truth and doesn't change the gospel whatsoever. We can never go back the 'good-ole-days' we must make new days of good worship of Jesus and Christian growth.

    Reply to Pastor Darren Meadows
  3. Frank Patterson
    Jul 07, 2014 at 02:50 PM

    Amen Brother.
    Our great tendency is to become like the immediate family. It keeps things nice and smooth, but immediate families are hard to "join" apart form birth. God has a family, not families. The family is a lot bigger than our little groups, our little denominations, our little races, or our little countries.

    Reply to Frank Patterson
  4. Thanks brother, this issue has been a real burden for me recently.

    Reply to Brian Christopher Raaen