For several days now I have been wanting to write on this issue.
Whenever I think of our modern church I see a trend that I find very alarming! What is this trend? Well, it seems to me that the church keeps on getting into new fads that are "hip" and "now." As time rolls on, an ever-present avalanche of "new" and "cool" things keep hitting the church. What alarms me even more is that these fads are created from within! The church keeps coming up with new things all the time. And, these things are designed to appeal to the emotions of Christians in order to entice them towards an ever decreased understanding of Biblical Christianity. This design is manufactured to create a popular Christianity that is easy for people to join. A Christianity that does not convict, demand faithfulness or offend! It is a Christianity that sells trinkets, yet does not preach the gospel of a holy God that needs to be propitiated. It gives the world a silver-haired grandfather figure not unlike Santa Claus willing to hand over his gifts to the world!
What the church is doing is looking for popular acclaim. Their idea of reaching out to the world is to make the church a comfortable place where sinners can come and relax comfortably in their sin! Christianity has gone so far down this road that almost nothing of any real value ever makes it to the other side of the coin, critical acclaim.
Let's look at the specific area that bothers me the most... books! Walk into almost any Christian book store and look around at what they are promoting at the moment. Look at who the popular authors are. It stands out like a sore thumb! You will find many novels being promoted (I am not completely against Christian fiction--there is a place for a small portion of it), self-help books, feel-good books and a host of heretics among them! However, they are all popular. And, it seems, our book distributors see this as a popularity contest! They keep on pushing the popular stuff because it brings in the dough. It just seems that it is very difficult to find a book distributor today with people that actually understand Christianity. If they did, we would have seen a lot less books, but at least they would be based on the truth.
Criticize these popular authors (Warren, Osteen, etc) and books and you will find yourself in a hot pot of soup! In fact, it will be more akin to an erupting volcano! Before people even think of what is being said about these authors and books, they erupt into a vitriolic attack against those that raised the initial criticism. Of course, they claim that you have a critical spirit, put you into the "critical spirit" box and henceforth are closed to anything you say.
The reason for this type of response (mostly outbursts), is that Christians are taught within this fad-driven Christian culture to look for experiences. Christians are hardly ever taught to think about their Christianity. This is why so many heretical authors' (Meyers, Copeland, Jakes, Tenney, etc) books can be found in Christian book stores.The search is for experience and not truth! It might as well be part of the New Age movement!
On the other hand, trying to find books that are solidly based on Biblical truth (books that I will call Critically Acclaimed) is becoming harder and harder. There are very few Christian book stores out there in which one can with a fair amount of assurance buy almost anything and it will be good. This is where the internet has been very good. One can search the internet to find good Christian books.
These Christian book companies will continue to sell us their "broken" wares until we stop buying them! But then it will mean that pastors must improve in their theological prowess! Perhaps I am dreaming about a perfect world. While pastors feed their sheep this type of drivel from the pulpit, the sheep will continue to search out this type of drivel! If pastors do not improve in their theological outlook, why should the sheep? Oh, yeah! Many of these pastors are simply sheep like the rest, following the latest fad!
It is time that the church seeks critical acclaim (that which is based on objective Biblical truth and sanctioned by God) and distances itself from popular acclaim (that which is based on experience and feel-good pop-theology and sanctioned by the world and heretics)!
We need to reinstate our mind in our love for God.
PS. While I was busy putting this post together, I read the latest from Dan Phillips and Tim Challies. Check it out! Also have a look at this article by The Motley Fool.