Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bad Trend

The article I linked yesterday is a truly accurate analysis of the state of Christian churches in our time; especially Christian Churches in California. I don’t think the rest of America is as bad as California yet, but the trend is not promising for traditional Christian men or women.

I was in a Church on Easter where a husband and wife talked about their divorce and reconciliation. Neither spouse ever took responsibility for what led to divorce or even mentioned what caused the divorce. All they talked about was how they had grown apart and how they sensed God leading them back together. The husband ended by saying how he is now an Elder in the church.

Orthodox Christianity is right or wrong/good or bad behavior and knowledge, not right or wrong/good or bad feelings. This trend toward feelings will not change as long as head count is a determinate of a successful church.


Hammertime said...

We had a speaker here at the seminary on the very same subject. He mentioned the same problems and solutions you did in your series on the subject.
I thank God that I am not in a feminized church. Our ministers, from head pastor to children's minister, all make the expositon of the Word in preaching and teaching the key to their ministries. Our youth group has cool stuff, but they get the truth right down the pipe along with it.

And you know what? It works great. We needn't play touchy-feely to reach souls for Christ and grow the church. In fact, I would say that a church that does dodge the hard truths of Scripture...isn't a church at all. It is a gathering of idolators, who worship a God of their own choosing.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Hammer,

Thanks for the comment. I’ve said before that I believe in the seeker sensitive concept, but I haven’t seen very many places where it actually works. Some people have a “Road to Damascus” experience, but most people take baby steps in either the right or wrong direction. Church and the preaching in Church needs to meet people where they are at and then move them closer towards where God wants them to be. As we assist others in moving in the right direction, we should also be moving in the right direction.

The emphasis in Church on feelings and relationships is an emphasis on self. “Self” is the exact opposite of orthodox Christianity. “Selflessness” is orthodox Christianity. I agree with you. Some of these Churches are worshiping a false God. I’ve had some good experiences with men’s small groups, but I’ve also seen a whole lot of men going through the motions without ever making visible changes in their life. These men set aside a part of their life for Church and small groups but are completely unaffected by either.

I’m sure some Churches are successful as a result of feeding solid food, but I just don’t know if all Churches would grow if the milk was replaced. Women love the relationship talk and a lot of men are satisfied with the small commitment. I pray that God will use me to slow or reverse the trend, but I get discouraged by how people respond to my observations. Perhaps you could include California Churches in your prayers.

Anonymous said...

You not only said a mouthful, you said a "Bible-full":
Church needs to meet people where they are at and then move them closer towards where God wants them to be.

Church has forgotten, never learned, is "scared of", finds "off-putting" etc,etc,etc, the "AND THEN" part.

Derek Simmons

David M. Smith said...

Hi Derek,

I know it is a lot easier said than done, and I know most Churches believe they are making a difference, but I just haven’t observed very many Church people becoming increasingly more holy. I still think that Christians in general are better people, but Church does not seem to be a factor.

Even in my own life, my discouragement with Church has led to less holiness. When I first asked Christ to reveal himself to me, and when I first asked for forgiveness once I believed, my enthusiasm helped me to live more sacrificially. My enthusiasm with Christ has morphed into discouragement with Church.

I know Church is the body of Christ. I know I can’t be who God wants me to be without being part of the body. However, attaching my sick and sinful body part to an even more sick and sinful church does not seem to be a solution for either.