Church of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17)
* They live in a town ruled by Satan but still remain true to Jesus
* They do not renounce Jesus or their faith in Him. They boldly speak of and share their faith.
* Tolerate in their midst those who worship Balaam and entice others to sin, idolatry, sexual immorality.
* Have those who follow the teachings of Nicolaitans.
When reading the praises what immediately came to mind was a church who is faithful in cities that are considered to be "sin cities" in America. To me San Francisco and Las Vegas came to mind.
Based on the rebukes, my initial impression is this is a church who teaches the love of Christ boldly, but not the righteousness, holiness or obedience of Christ which is expected of followers. Liberal Churches that tolerate and/or condone (sometimes encourage) sin in it's followers lives seem to parallel this church. The Grace of the Savior is taught in a way that everything is acceptable. Unfortunately I believe there are many churches in America that teach this now, and even more troublesome is the appearance that the number is growing.
I find it very interesting that Jesus specifically mentions that this church follows the teachings on the Nicolaitans. These are the practices He made a point of commending the Church of Ephesus for hating. So I did a bit of research on these teachings. It appears there is no definitive documentation of what exactly these teaching were. However, I noted two themes in my research. One was that the teachings were very liberal to the point that paganistic rituals were considered to be acceptable as part of the teachings of Jesus. These individuals lived their lives to excess in all they did. The other theme I found was those who taught the church required a heirarchy for others to grow in Christ. The clergy were elevated above the rest of the Believers, instead of being considered servants to the body as Jesus taught.
For more research of your own visit these sites and/or do some research of your own. It is very interesting.
The Teaching of the Nicolatians
THE NICOLAITANS – an alternative view
Nicolaitans - Wikipedia Definition
The bottom line for me is that our God is a Holy and Righteous God as well as a Merciful and Loving God. Unfortunately, many churches and Believers tend to emphasize one of these characteristics to the extreme and to the detriment of the other. However, we have to remember God is both! Therefore, we need to keep a balance between the two as well. I believe the key to this is being in constast communication with the Lord through a relationship with Him that includes prayer, being in His Word and fellowship with others.