Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Is the modern church grandstanding?

Let me ask one question. Depending on the answer to that question we will know if the church is grandstanding or not. Remember, the answer to the question needs to be brutally honest. If its not, we are lying to ourselves and the church!
How well will the church do if all electricity and electronic gadgets were removed from churches for the next two months?
I know of a few churches where I live that I think might just lose 50% or more of their people. In fact, let me be bold, perhaps upwards of 75% of their people will leave those churches.
It is a sad day when we attract people through all kinds of programs designed to titillate the senses instead of through the gospel. When a "prominent" preacher delivers a sermon that sounds more like a motivational speech that could have been delivered by any Dale Carnegie graduate, than a Biblical message and he subsequently gives an invitation for salvation, it makes me wonder what these people respond to! It certainly cannot be a response to the clear preaching of the gospel! It was never preached! If the gospel is not preached, how can the church claim that those people are really saved?
This is what is going on in our churches today. People are getting saved from mundane lives to exciting lives. That is what these motivational speeches are geared towards. Not salvation! People are no longer being saved from the clutches of hell into the glorious arms of Jesus Christ.
The aim of many churches is to get people excited about church. New programs are forever designed to make sure that people feel good when they come to church. There are all kinds of things going on at the back of the stage with PowerPoint presentations going all the time and flashy colours making it look cool. You see, the church feels that if we don't look like the world and do things the way they do it, we will not look attractive to the world! Walking out of a church service, people should be able to say, "Wow! What a service!" People are kept happy with entertainment, not the truth!
One no longer hears sermons on the great doctrines of the faith like Justification by Faith Alone, The Attributes of God, The Trinity, Propitiation, God's Justice, Creation, The Fall of Man, God's Sovereignty, God's Providence, The Person of Christ, The Atonement and many others. People are treated like idiots in these churches it seems, for the most common reasons given for not teaching these great and wonderful doctrines of the gospel are that these doctrines are too difficult for people to understand or they are too controversial, and many other moronic reasons for not teaching them.
Churches, especially the mega-churches, are no longer havens for Christians to come to in order to be shepherded since the shepherds have been morphed into managers of the flock. These pastors have become like the shepherds that Ezekiel wrote about:
Eze 34:1-10 ESV The word of the LORD came to me: (2) "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? (3) You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. (4) The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. (5) So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. (6) My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. (7) "Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: (8) As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, (9) therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: (10) Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
Today, there are managers over the flock. These managers almost never visit the flock anymore. These days they sit in multiple meetings a week to discuss issues over how to make the church more effective with the next great programme coming from some guru like Rick Warren.
Managers are like what Jesus spoke about:

Joh 10:12 ESV He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

There are so many self-help gurus around who teach leadership principles in the name of Christ and then get invited to speak in pulpits where the gospel of Christ should be preached! For what? Making leaders?! We don't want leaders! We want disciples, who can make disciples, who can make disciples, who . . . ! We already have enough leaders around! People calling themselves apostles and prophets and bishops! There are churches around with 24 pastors on staff, but for what? Being managers of the flock?! When last has your pastor visited you at your home? Oh yes! Managers do not visit the people. They must make appointments to see the managers!
The church is grandstanding! Trying to put up a big show to attract people! Great, the church is attracting people to itself. Yet, how many of these people coming to church will still end up in hell because the church was all too willing to entertain the flock to death!

1Pe 5:1-4 ESV So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

How many pastors today can say that they shepherded the flock the way God wanted them to do it, and as a result "will receive the unfading crown of glory?"
Susan Arnold has written a poignant blog article on this issue and it is well worth the time it will take to read. In it she asks the question: "If the electricity goes out in Mega-church's neighborhood on Sunday, does it make a sound?" It is a very thought provoking article.
Just thinking...

1 comment:

Susan said...

Thanks for the link here and the comment over at my blog. You've posted quite the jeremiad here youself...sad to think that megachurch mentality is not limited to the States.

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