A mortician can make a dead man look better than he ever did when he was alive. So churches like Sardis may appear very much alive when they are dead in the sight of the Lord. There are experts who are very clever at this business of making church corpses appear very healthy so that they have an image for robust vitality in their own sight, among other churches, and up at headquarters – but God knows the difference.
This is probably more true today than when Vance wrote this. The emerging church which emphasizes marketing and methodology over sola scriptura is a perfect example. Many churches give lip service to the Bible, yet there is a lack of submission to the Word, and a watered down approach to salvation, often omitting the foundation of repentance without which on cannot be saved. Blessings, Pastor Steve