" . . . your sins have withholden good things from you." Jeremiah 5:25
It's been said that History repeats itself. Unfortunately,
many fail to learn from the past and blindly repeat the same mistakes of
yesterday. Too often is the case when it
comes to revival and church growth.
Take the year 1662 where in the New England colonies of this newly found Country of America: Church attendance was down to a hand full. Churches throughout Massachusetts, slowly but surly, were being closed due to the lack of interest. Men and women found other interests, like farming, sowing, family, friends, pleasure and self.
Even though the moral standards were high compared to our
day, the people refused to make "COMMITMENTS"
to the Lord, the Church, and Christian principles. Unfaithfulness to church,
refusing to tithe, no prayer and soul-winning were the norm of the day.
The spiritual interests became so bad that leading ministers in the
congregational Churches of Massachusetts came up with what they thought might help. Instead of helping, it only made matters worse in the long run. They adopted what was called "Halfway Covenant".
People who could make no profession in any salvation
experiencestill could get their children sprinkled and be accepted in church
membership even though the parents were not members. The parents were able to
have their children sprinkled so long as they accepted the doctrine of salvation
and was not "SCANDALOUS IN LIVING". When the children grew up and
they themselves couldn't profess of any salvation experience,
the only church privilege that was denied them was communion. Soon these churches began to grow, but they did so with "HALF WAY MEMBERS. " These halfway members out numbered the full communion "saved" members and became socially accepted. People began to say, "Why go all the way when you don't have to".
Eventually the restriction of the Lord's Supper was dropped and the "HALFWAY MEMBERS" were no different than the full "Saved Members". Soon every church was full of "unsaved saints". Of course, there is no such thing, but when you make your own rules, you can do as you wish.