Tuesday, July 11, 2006

When Christianity seeks credibility

I was reading Ingrid Schlueter's blog, Slice of Laodicea, when I came across her post called We Wanted Total Mainstream Credibility .

This post by Ingrid is about this rock band of Christians who do not want to be known as a Christian band! They want credibility in the world, bot recognition as a Christian band. That is so odd! In fact, they are going so far as suing WORD Records for marketing them as a Christian band. They did not want "to be the Christian version of a real band." And Christian bands are not real bands. Apparently because of the label: "Christian."

How many of these bands with "Christian" members haven't gone mainstream because they wanted to make an impact in the secular market? Of course, we can name thousands of mainstream artists who claim that these mainstreamed Christian artists have brought about a change in their lives! I can't even count them on the fingers of one of my hands. Where is the impact these cross-over artists have crossed over for? It is all about marketing. They are not interested in preaching the gospel. That is not what it is about!  Mute Math's lawyer made that clear when he said that  "[t]hey [Mute Math] don't preach from [the] stage. They don't preach in their interviews. Those things are required of you when you work in the Christian market." So, when are they going to preach? Aren't we supposed to preach the gospel to the world?

We have seen this type of behaviour from Christian artists for quite a while now, starting with someone as eminent in Christian music circles as Amy Grant way back in the 80s. I am sure it started before her, but she is the first I can remember wanting to crossover. Today, this type of rejection of all things Christian (and believe me, I do not suggest that all CCM artists should be accepted because of the Christian label), has become one of the expected trends among some Christian artists.

However, this is not something that we expect from the church itself. Yet, that is exactly what has been happening in the church!

Instead of preaching the truth to a lost and dying world, it has become the fashionable thing to water down the full gospel message so that it would not be so offensive. In effect, parts of the gospel have been scuttled in order to make it more palatable to a world that would rather want to see our demise than hear the true gospel!

In effect, the church wants credibility with the world instead, by having all night " laugh-fests," Bibles that look like common magazines, Christian dance evenings and more.

The fact that the church and Christian bands crave credibility from the world is the very thing that denies them credibility. The very thing that the world needs right now, someone willing to stand strong on principles of truth, is also the very thing that these credibility-seekers are denying the world.

Credibility does not come by flattery and obsequious behaviour toward the world. This will only show the world that we have no principles, nothing that we are willing to stand up for. Why should they join us if all we can do is fawn over them? They don't want servility! They want someone that can show them the way!

The fact is, if we kowtow to the world, we are definitely not being obedient to God! We cannot love the world and its ways and still claim to love the Lord! We don't draw the world by becoming like it! That is exactly the wrong thing to do!

Walk in the forest where everything is the same and you will not be instantly drawn to anything. However, walk in this forest where there is something that does not look like everything else and your attention will be grabbed immediately! That is how it is with the world.

If we become like them, how can we tell them that we are different. The apostle Paul said that "if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Cor 14:8) If we just sound the same and look the same and do the same stuff as the world, we simply become indistinct from it. And, if we become indistinct from it, then we lose our impact on the world. If we, the salt, have lost our saltiness (becoming part of that which we are to be a flavour unto), how can we call ourselves the salt of the earth?

There is a saying that says "if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it probably is a duck!" If we seek credibility from the world (which should not be our aim at all) by becoming like them, we, in effect, deny the Lord that saved us by aligning ourselves with the world.

If we become like the world to "reach" the world, what are we "reaching" them with and what are they getting "saved" unto? The true gospel, or a diluted gospel void of the truth? The fact is that if we become like them for whatever reason (credibility included) we are caught in the devils trap. We no longer retain our saltiness and our bugles make an indistinct sound. Instead of "reaching" the world, the world has "reached" us! We get caught in the very same trap that we have set for the world.

It is time the church stops looking for credibility from the world and rather seeks the praise of our heavenly Father! Obedience to Him is all that matters!

There is only one way to reach the world, and that is the unadulterated preaching of the gospel of Christ, including the mercy and the justice of God.

It is not the ways of the world that will "reach" the world! This simply shows how little we trust God to accomplish what He has promised to accomplish through the preaching of the gospel. Only the gospel, with the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, can "reach" the world!

Just thinking...

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