Matt Walsh: Christian Church ‘Doesn’t Have Much of a Future’ – Unless This Changes

Have you struggled with not feeling spiritually fed at your church?

Christians around the country are starving to hear biblical, honest teaching that holds them accountable in their lives. TheBlaze’s Matt Walsh joined Glenn on radio Thursday to talk about the spiritual dangers of a church that doesn’t give people the truth they need to hear.

“We need explanation. We need to be told how to navigate the spiritual minefield of modern culture,” Matt wrote this week. “We need something to hold onto.”

While some may be happy with their pastor and their church, every Christian needs to recognize that culture is changing the church, not the other way around.

“To deny that this is a problem is absurd,” Matt said on Thursday’s show. “We know that the faith is decaying in this culture.”

Glenn used the hospital analogy to talk about how desperately people of faith need to come to church each week to have a safe place for spiritual conviction and repentance.

“I think our churches should be spiritual hospitals. I’m coming in there every day, and I need triage,” Glenn said. “Instead, what’s happening is our churches are turning into someplace that is either an entertainment center or it is a place where all the people think they are doctors and they’re talking about all of the other patients that they need to help.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: Matt Walsh who works with TheBlaze, wrote an article that was posted yesterday that you need to read.

A certain sermon I heard a little while ago stuck with me. It began with a reference to Toy Story. Yes, the cartoon with talking toys. The Pixar film, the pastor explained, contained many examples of friendship. Friendship is important. It's good to have friends, in case any of you thought friendship was bad.

He was standing up boldly, if anyone wanted to stand up and boldly declare otherwise. Remember that Randy Newman said, "You got a friend in me."

The pastor remembered it. He quoted it at length. Now, I have no problem with a sermon that draws on art or literature outside the Scripture to illustrate a theme contained in it. But all of the poems, novels, songs, films, paintings, sculptures that may reveal some divine truth, he went with Toy Story?

Oh, but Toy Story is relatable, you see. Relatable to whom?

The message preached from most of the pulpits in America is just like this: Superficial, childish, empty, and seemingly designed to insult the intelligence of anyone who hears it.

Christianity is dull and lifeless in this country. Because that's what the church and leaders have done to it. They've made it into something so bland, so generic, and inoffensive that it no longer bears any resemblance to the faith of our Christian ancestors. Indeed, the primary goal of the modern church is to avoid offense at whatever cost.

And this is precisely why they are dying. Because they're not merely boring people. The problem is more specifically that they are starving people.

There's no substance. No meat. Nothing in the message being preached. The congregants sit there and slowly starve to death. Your flocks are starving, churches. And you are starving them.

We're getting killed out here. Do you even understand that? We drag our sorry, beaten carcasses into church every Sunday. Fewer and fewer even bother to do that anymore. After another week of languishing in Sodom. And what do you have to say? Friends are good. Really?

The troops are suffering massive defeats in battle. And when they consult their commanding officer, what do they hear? Yeah, it's rough out there, guys, so let me tell you what I learned about teamwork from watching Guardians of the Galaxy.

People need to be woken up. They need to be offended. Offend us, pastor! Make us uncomfortable. Make me look at my reflection and see the things I'd rather not see. Pull me out of my comfort zone. Make me angry at myself.

Or at you for making me angry at myself. Can you stand to have people angry at you? If not, then you've chosen the wrong profession and the wrong religion.

Whoever doesn't want to be challenged, whoever insists that they are above approach, whoever wants only sweet nothings whispered in their ears, whoever wants a comfortable Christianity does not want Christianity at all. There are not limbs on the body of Christ, there are malignant growths. They are toxic. Cut them out.

We pray that they return to the faith, but not until the faith -- not until the faith is the faith they truly desire.

If they are sitting there hoping to have their ears tickled and their preconceived notions confirmed, it is the duty of any pastor or priest to disappoint them and offend them. Because sometimes there is no other way to tell the truth.

GLENN: Matt Walsh is here. That article is at TheBlaze.com. Matt, you know what I like about you is you take on -- you take on your own. You know, you're not pointing fingers at others. You're taking on your own. Your own faith, your own church, and I appreciate that. And making people uncomfortable.

What is the future of Christianity?

MATT: I don't think it has much of a future in this culture, if this is what we get. This is what strikes me when I go to church -- and I know that, and I wrote that, and there were plenty of Christians who said, "Well, my pastor is great. I don't know what you're talking about." And that's fine. If you have a great pastor, a great church, then good for you. You should be very happy for that and grateful. But to deny that this is a problem, is absurd. We know that the faith is decaying in this culture. It's very clear.

You look at any indicator, starting with church attendance. It's lower than it has ever been. There's more atheists in this country than there's ever been. You just go right down the line. And it strikes me that at least from my experience and from talking to people, that the main problem isn't that people are going to church, and they're hearing hearsay and blasphemy. Well, they're hearing that too, so that's a problem.

But even more than that, it's not that it's just -- it's just this nothingness. It's like you're going to church and the person talking to you doesn't understand -- doesn't realize what century they're living in or who they're -- you know, it's like --

GLENN: It is a complete disconnect from -- you walk in, and it is completely disconnected from the world you just left. And not in a good way.

MATT: Right.

GLENN: It's as if it could be 1950. It could be 1800. It could be 2024. There's no connection at all to my life. It feels that way to me.

MATT: Yeah. And to the struggles that we're --

GLENN: Yes.

MATT: It should feel not disconnected. But it should feel like an oasis of sorts. Like, you are -- you're in a safe place. A sanctuary is what they used to call it. And it's what is supposed to be.

GLENN: See, may I point something out to you? Because I wonder if you're -- if we're saying two different things. Because I just -- I was just asked to be a part of the bishopric in my faith, and it's a lay ministry.

And we're wrestling with this very thing. And I -- I said, you know, sanctuary, it needs to be a sanctuary for God's people to be able to come and be safe. And you can say anything.

But, you know, the name Israel itself means wrestle with God. God expects you to wrestle with him. He expects you to ask tough questions. He expects his people to say, "Wait a minute. Hang on just a second."

And what's happening is, I think our -- our churches should be spiritual hospitals. I'm coming in there every day, and I need triage. Please, help me, help me, help me.

I need spiritual medicine all the time. And instead, what's happening is our churches are turning into some place that is either an entertainment center, or it is a place where all the people think that they're doctors, and they're talking about all the other patients that they need to help. I think that's upside down.

MATT: I think it's like churches are today -- what's that dumb -- well, I didn't like it that much -- that Robin Williams movie where he pretended to be a clown.

STU: Patch Adams? That's a weird reference to bring into this.

MATT: Okay. Well, I'm saying, people are dying, and so the DACA puts on a clown nose and makes them laugh, which is great. But they also need medicine. It's like, if I'm going to a hospital, it's great to make me smile. But also, treat what's killing me. I don't want a doctor to just come --

GLENN: I don't know if you -- I don't know if you just watched the trailer of Patch Adams, but he was a very good doctor as well.

MATT: I don't know. But let's put this reference aside.

GLENN: All right.

MATT: Put this doctor aside. Churches are like what I just imagined Patch Adams to be, which is, hey, let's ignore the actual cancer that these people have, what they're struggling with. And let's just make them smile or put them to sleep.

GLENN: So here's the argument -- the pushback -- because I've talked to pastors. And, quite honestly, this is happening in conservative media, it's happening in liberal media as well. It's happening all over: No, no, no, but if I say those things, then I'll diminish the audience, or I'll diminish the number of people who are coming to this church, and then I won't have a voice at all.

Where my feeling is, you're not going to have a voice at all anyway. You have to understand, you just keep going along -- there's no -- why would anyone come to you when I can get it from watching Patch Adams or I can get it from watching Toy Story? I need something that is real, authentic, and eternally true that can tell me and help me next week.

MATT: Right. Exactly.

GLENN: But nobody is doing that because they're afraid people are going to leave.

MATT: Right. But there's no reason for that. You're not giving them anything that they need. There's no reason for you to exist, unless you tell them the things that might make them leave.

And I think that -- if we get to a point -- it would be great in this country, separate the wheat from the chafe. Let's figure out where we actually stand as Christians. So if every church operated this way, if they got up and told the unvarnished truth. And you had -- you have a church of 100 people, and 98 of them get up in the middle of the homily or the sermon and march out and you leave two there, well, then, great. Because those are the two. Those are the actual two Christians. Let's start there. Now we know how many actual Christians we have in the church, two. Let's start with them. Let's build them up. Give them what they need. And then maybe they can go out. Because this is the whole point. They're supposed to go out into the mission field and go win back the other 98.

But when you're not -- so it's really the two. It's the two that you need to kind of cater to. You need to give them what they need because -- here's the problem: If you lose those two, but you keep the 98 --

GLENN: The 98 --

MATT: -- then you're done. You're not really a church anymore. You're just --

GLENN: They're leaves that will blow away in the fall wind.

STU: So going back to your story here on TheBlaze, because this is interesting -- are you making the point, like they have to make sure they're making the uncomfortable points in any way possible and not skimming from that?

MATT: Right.

STU: Or are you making the point that they shouldn't be making these points via the vehicle of Toy Story references?

GLENN: Yeah. Hang on. This is an important question. Are you okay with a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, or are you just saying there's nothing in those?

MATT: If there's medicine -- yeah, if there actually is medicine in it. But what we're getting is the sugar, but there's no medicine. So it's just sugar makes the sugar go down, which is great. But there's no medicine.

STU: That's a good way to get diabetes as well.

MATT: Yeah. Now, if you can figure out a way to use Toy Story to make some deep spiritual point that's going to like satiate the deep yearnings of these Christian believers, then you're very talented. And, great, go for it. And you have seen much more in Toy Story than I saw. Because I've seen the movie many times, and all I see is talking toys. But if you see something deeper, then great. Make that point.

But in my case, all he made was the point that, yeah, let's make friends with people. Well, I just -- just -- then just put on the movie Toy Story. Let us watch that. At least it would be more entertaining anyway. Tim Allen and everything is in it.

STU: Because you made a point earlier about -- about bringing the tough truth, right? And you have to make sure you're giving the tough truth. And you did that with an illustration -- kind of an illustration of the trailer of Patch Adams, in a way that I think -- like, that's an effective way of making those points. If you could bring the truth through those vehicles, I don't necessarily mind it. I will say it's a sad circumstance that Christians have to get that message through movies. And it's more relatable because of movies.

GLENN: Jesus spoke in parables. I mean, I actually have -- from the pulpit, I have actually -- and this made a lot of people very angry. But I actually -- I talked about Willy Wonka and the Golden Ticket. And I tied it into --

STU: You're not helping my case here.

GLENN: I know. And I tied it into a gospel message. I think it can be done.

MATT: It can.

GLENN: But if I'm talking about, hey, and, by the way, you can lick the wallpaper on the way out, no, uh-uh. No. You can't.

MATT: Yeah. It can be done if -- and that's something -- and you're right, Jesus used parables that were very simple to appeal -- so that the people that were listening could understand it. But obviously the point he was making was very deep. And sometimes the points he was making were frankly terrifying.

GLENN: Yes.

MATT: He was finding a way to package it so that -- not just so that it would be palatable, but so that we could wrap our minds around this concept. So if people are doing that, then fantastic. But that also takes a certain level of insight and talent that I think a lot of pastors just lack, which is no -- you know, that's -- I don't think you need to be necessarily a brilliant public speaker to be a pastor. You know, there could be normal people that are taking these jobs. But if you're in that camp, then I think you just need to be more direct. And even if you're just writing it down and reading from it, but just tell the people the truth that they need to hear. Don't try to get too cute with it, unless you really are a brilliant orator, which most of these people aren't.

GLENN: Thanks, Matt.

STU: You can read the story from Matt Walsh up at TheBlaze.com. And how many times a week are you doing -- are you doing columns at TheBlaze?

MATT: Two times a week. Then I got a podcast coming out.

STU: Nice. Yeah, the podcast too. Listen to that as well. Matt Walsh. Thanks, Matt.

MATT: Thank you.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.