Let me first state my agreement with Ptr. John MacArthur when he wrote "The seven churches addressed in chapters 2 and 3 were actual existing churches when John wrote. But while not precisely duplicated, they also represent the types of churches that are generally present throughout the entire church age." Therefore I invite you to try to evaluate your church's type following the seven categories:

1) Love-Grew-Cold (Ephesus)
Commended for (2:2–3, 6):
  • deeds, toil, and perseverance
  • healthy judgment againts false teachings and teachers
  • hatred for antinomians
Rebuked for (2:4):
  • diminishing passion for GOD
2) Persecuted (Smyrna)
Commended for (2:9):
  • staying firm amidst tribulation, poverty and blasphemy
Rebuked for:
  • nothing (Wow!)
3) Worldly (Pergamum)
Commended for (2:13):
  • maintaining their faith despite difficult circumstances including death
Rebuked for (2:14–15):
  • mixing Christianity with worldly systems (as paganism)
  • some abuse liberty and embrace antinomianism (Nicolaitans)
4) Sin-Tolerating (Thyatira)
Commended for (2:19):
  • growing deeds of love, faith, service, and perseverance
Rebuked for (2:20–23):
  • tolerating a false teacher, a false teaching, and immoral practices inside
5) Dead (Sardis)
Commended for (3:4):
  • some who maintain their purity
Rebuked for (3:1d, 2b):
  • departing from the Source of spiritual life and from being a channel of spiritual life
6) Faithful (Philadelphia)
Commended for (3:8–11a):
  • though small in numbers, they have a powerful impact in the community for being faithful to GOD and to His Word
Rebuked for:
  • nothing (Wow! And wow!)
7) Lukewarm (Laodicea)
Commended for:
  • nothing (What?)
Rebuked for (3:15–17):
  • being lukewarm, neither are they genuinely saved (hot) nor are they rejecting the gospel (cold)
  • being arrogant and proud
  • being spiritually wretched, poor, and blind
How About the UMC?

Let me, then, diagnose my church, the United Methodist Church, as I observe its worship and practices here at our conference. I am confident yet sad to admit that my church does not fall on the unrebuked churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. It is neither persecuted nor faithful. I can't even classify it under the passionless Ephesus. Never do I see a healthy discernment against false teachers and false teachings (false teachers are actually revered oftentimes). These, therefore, leave four feasible choices: Worldly, Sin-Tolerating, Dead, Lukewarm. Did I just describe my church with four adjectives?

Let me, therefore, proceed on exploring the commands given to these four churches. I assume that these are the same commands that my church ought to take heed to:
  • Commandment to Pergamum (2:16)
    "repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war"
  • Commandment to Thyatira (2:24–25)
    "the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this [false] teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come."
  • Commandment to Sardis (3:2a, 3)
"Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die…. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent."
  • Commandment to Laodicea (3:18–20)
"be zealous and repent"

Oh, GOD, please be merciful and gracious to the United Methodist Church. May You, in Your sovereignty, be pleased to send renewal, reformation, and revival.

I have borrowed a lot from MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11.

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5 Response for the "The Seven Churches of Revelation and United Methodism"

  1. Indeed, John Wesley is right when he said, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”

    May God be gracious and merciful to our churches...

  2. Amen!

    Why didn't you use your Google (Blogger) account instead for your comment?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a good post, and I could see it being applicable to Anglicans as well. Thanks for giving us a lot to think about.

  4. Wow! This is a frontal attack, a triple strike, so to speak, and a strong blow on the United Methodist Church! I, myself, am a Methodist. I am a witness to the ever-increasing drift of the church (i.e. UMC) towards liberalism and post-modernism, or to put it in simpler terms, towards WORLDLINESS. This is so sad to say, but it's so true. Clear thinking, ever-discerning Methodists would and can not deny that.

    Lest be out of balance, taken all the verses from the Bible and presented in this thesis, subjecting them to grammatico-historical interpretation (i.e. exegetical hermeneutics, so to speak), the Bible does not speak about the United Methodist Church. However, after getting what the Bible says and what it mean by what it says, we can safely conclude that the United Methodist Church is just like the five out of the seven Gentile churches (except that of Smyrna and Philadelphia) that perfectly matches the descriptions.

    My heart goes out to passionate regeneration and sanctification of this church. If John Wesley is still alive today, what will he say about the modern-day Methodists? For sure, he will rebuke it.

    I am in deep pain and agony because of the erosion that I have witnessed especially in the pulpits of every Methodist congregation. Never that I heard of a Methodist pastor preach God's word in an expository manner (most of the time, Bible scriptures are preached eisogetically as if the Bible is just but figurative statements that must be interpreted allegorically). How rude and disrespectful that is to the Word of God which I treat it with high respect and great value! It's very blasphemous! They may stir the emotions of the congregation, but never that it can awaken a dead soul/spirit!

    Hai, enough for my litanies. Just like you, I am a Methodist with the heart of a reformer. My prayer is that, by God's good grace and mercy, may there be revival, regeneration, and continuous sanctification within the United Methodist Church. May God redeem this church from post-modernism and liberalism before it's too late!

    For this church, just like you, let us remain to be a salt and light in this part of the world! Amen.

    Jesus Christ is my LORD, and I am His SLAVE!

  5. sophie says:

    A lot of denominations and sects have come up during the time when Jesus was killed and His apostles were killed, too. Today, we need to pray hard to know which one is the true church of Christ.
    phentermine hcl 37.5

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