Forgotten Word Ministries
“TODAY’S CHRISTIANITY: LET US ENTERTAIN YOU! ”
THE NOBLE BEREAN: Volume Eleven - July 2006
By Michael C. Gaudiosi - The Berean Radio Network
THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS! I had initially struggled to come up with a topic for this month’s newsletter, there really is a lot to talk about when it comes to the problems in mainstream Christianity today, I was not sure where I could begin! Then about two weekends ago it happened! On that Saturday I received an advertisement postcard in the mail for a church located not far from my hometown. On the front of this card was a picture of somebody’s feet with their socks being blown off, and the caption read “Church that will blow your socks off!” Of course, that captured my attention!
Turning the card around, I read the message, which I will share with you (without mentioning the name of the church or it’s pastor). The message read just like this:
“Old songs, hard pews and a boring talk…that’s not what church is supposed to be! We believe that going to church should be an experience that can be enjoyed by kids, adults and everyone. That’s why we have upbeat music, relevant sermons, and a friendly and casual atmosphere! We even have our own coffee shop! If you feel like church isn’t for you (or doesn’t relate) we challenge you to check out one of our 4 services at _____________ Church…it’ll blow your socks off!”
This church has gone to a lot of trouble, and obviously spent a lot of money, trying to convince me they have a better alternative than the “old songs, hard pews and a boring talk”, so what is their alternative? Of course it’s “upbeat music, relevant sermons and a casual atmosphere”, oh, and let us not forget they have their own “coffee shop”! In a nutshell, this church is trying to lure me in with the promise that it will be an “experience” that I, and my family will “enjoy”! There are no hymns, which they call “old songs”, no emphasis on sound doctrine and preaching, which they call “a boring talk”, but they do have cozy, comfortable seats instead of those old “hard pews”!
They also have a website, which I visited, and like all church websites, they did have a statement of faith where they acknowledged the fundamental essentials of the Christian faith. Of course, I had no problem with that (exceptions being the belief of speaking in tongues and no mention of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper). In their mission statement they expressed the dedication in “teaching God’s word accurately as the final authority in our lives”, with that I do not take issue. What I saw as a problem was their dedication “to using contemporary techniques in presenting the Gospel in a dynamic and compelling way”. Since when does the Holy Spirit need help or a dynamic or compelling “technique” in presenting the Gospel? The fact that times may change, society may change, people change and that technology is advancing gives us no license or right to change the biblical way the Gospel is to be presented.
In the June 18th 2006 edition of The Sunday Republican, my local newspaper, there was a story done on the front page of the local section entitled “Putting a Hip-Hop Spin on Salvation”. This article was about a “Christian” hip-hop group putting on a concert in order to reach the youth of the community. The article states “about 200 people drawn to the park by fliers heralding the free event with iPod and Xbox giveaways and a free barbecue”. According to the news article, they “bill themselves as urban evangelism through praise, dance and hip-hop”. One spectator stated that the “program’s formula seemed successful in attracting people to listen to the anti-drug message” (authors note: what about the Gospel message?) This person was also quoted as saying “They’ve got the right ingredients. They’ve got the music, the food”. With that I can easily rest my case!
Why is modern day Christianity trying so hard to make church more appealing? Why the need to entertain lost sinners? Why do we need “formulas” or “techniques” in the place of biblical preaching? I have asked these questions before, and the answers I always hear are “you’re not going to get people’s attention by preaching or Bible thumping” or “nobody wants to hear about hell, judgment or fire and brimstone” and the most popular answer “we need to present the Gospel in a fresh, new way for the twenty-first century”. If you look at the two examples I cited here, you’ll note some interesting keywords such as “experience”, “techniques”, “formula” and “ingredients”. However one essential keyword, which is necessary and required, is never mentioned, and that is “biblical”.
I have heard some say “well, if Jesus were walking the earth today, He would use hip-hop, or Christian rock, the movies, contemporary music…etc to win the lost, He would want people to be united” Is that so? Well here is what Jesus REALLY had to say:
Luke 12:51-53 - Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Does this sound like a positive, upbeat, feel good about you message? DEFENDING SOUND BIBLICAL DOCTRINE WILL ALWAYS CAUSE DIVISION!
What is the God-given method to win the lost? What does the scripture say?
SOLA SCRIPTURA – THE SCRIPTURE ALONE!
The reason why Christianity has resorted to certain formulas or techniques and worldly methods to reach the lost is simple, because preaching alone is not popular. So it is all about numbers to most churches today. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. I do not argue the fact that a church with upbeat music, positive sermons and a coffee shop, or a hip-hop group with free giveaways and a barbecue will attract more numbers than a preacher on the street corner calling people to repentance, because the scripture says so. No, preaching is not popular, but it is the method that pleases God. 1 Corinthians 1:21 - For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Peter 1:23 says - Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Hebrews 4:12 states - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It is very evident from these passages of scripture that the word of God is incorruptible seed, which is alive and powerful! But how do we get this incorruptible seed into the hearts of man? Simple question requires a simple answer. Romans 10:17 - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Just the simple preaching of the Gospel is sufficient! As we have seen in Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is living and powerful! No worldly methods can “pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit”, nor can formulas and techniques “discern the thoughts and intents of the heart”.
There is no mention in the New Testament that Jesus or the apostles ever tried to make the Gospel appealing to the masses by entertainment, or to make it a more positive, feel-good message. They never used gimmicks, games or free giveaways. If you want to see a great example in the Bible of how people reacted to Jesus’ preaching, read John chapter six. He lost a lot of so-called “followers” because they considered His preaching of the truth as a “hard saying” which was not positive, or what they wanted to hear! Jesus was not concerned about offending people or if His numbers would drop (which of course they did!).
John 8:31-32 - Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. The truth may hurt or offend, but it will make you free! Worldly methods and techniques cannot do this. They can only produce false converts and once they come in the church, they only want more entertainment and amenities, so the show must go on or these people will leave and go somewhere else! I have seen it happen firsthand, time and time again!
2 Timothy 4:2 - Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. The Church needs to be obedient to this command and stop trying to entertain people into the Church! Let’s get back to the Bible!
Search the Scripture for yourself! SOLA SCRIPTURA! The Scripture ALONE! May the Lord bless you!
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