From Abraham Piper, Paul Maxwell, and many other notable Christians, the faith is seeing a mass exodus…and I totally get why.
I’m going to be brutally honest…every Saturday evening, I fight a battle within myself to go to church on Sunday. It’s not the individual church I go to, but how church is being done within many of the houses of worship. After watching many of the videos that people have made, who have exited the faith, as well as reading their journeys away from Christianity, I find myself agreeing with many of their points. This is what I mean.
No connection, just dogma.
I’m not a young pup in the faith, still seeking after milk and ignoring more solid food, I’ve been a Christian since 2008. I know my Bible, I have a great relationship with God, and everything is fine in those areas.
It’s the whole church thing.
Church has come a long way from how things were done in the first century. If you want a glimpse, take a read through chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians.
In the beginning of our new walk with God through Christ, church was much different in the 1st century, but it has dissolved into a time regulated machine that cuts off the power and the glory, & focuses much of it’s attention to a man/woman flapping their gums from the pulpit, all the time looking up at a clock, so people can fill their bellies and watch the game.
The dogma of time, not allowing for the Holy Spirit to truly move, has cut the legs out from under each and every church member.
Same ol’ song and dance.
How many churches do their service is what they call a “Gospel driven” message. In a nutshell, it’s an expository sermon that details parts of the Bible with a constant call to those that may not believe to ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and to put their trust in Him as Lord over their lives.
The problems with those types of sermons is…what happens to the rest of us that are already saved?
I’m not belittling the importance of the cross, but even Paul – when speaking to a particular groups of Christians – called this base message “elementary principles”, and that we should move on.
If a person is sitting in your pew, and, through conversation & observation, you find out that they are not a believer, this it is up to YOU to deliver the Gospel. Having the minister continuously deliver a message of the cross to a group of saved people (assumed majority within the congregation), is not feeding the flock, it’s starving them. Even the Apostles (Paul, James, Peter, John, etc) who wrote the letters of the New Testament didn’t “reflow the field” over and over again.
The tent revivals in the sanctuary must stop!
Problems, problems, problems, but no solutions.
Every Sunday, many Pastors cry out from the pulpits of America, “this culture is depraved,” or something to that effect. It’s true, the culture is not good, and it’s a problem that is creeping into the church.
The problem I see is the constant statement of problems, but no process to solve them within our realm of the world.
It’s like slapping down a piece of meat (scripture) to a starving man/woman (church goer) and saying, “well, here it is, you know how to cook it” (typical sermons). Here’s the deal…the chef (pastor) needs to prepare and cook the meat (speak about the process of change).]
If you’re going to state a problem, you darn well better state a solution, AND a process for which to get there.
I do believe that the answers can be found in the Bible, but there’s more than just speaking scripture from the mountaintop of the pulpit, it’s about helping the flock of saved people get from point A to point B — giving them a plan of attack for the week.
So, what can be done?
To be honest, I’ve expressed my concerns personally and online, and the response has been basically the same, “things are just fine.” Having said that, I’ll tell you what I would like to see.
Get rid of the clocks!
In our church, many ministries have been abandoned for the sake of time. To be honest, I got more out of the children’s message than the sermon. The god of time is always worshipped in most churches, and it needs to stop.
Let the Holy Spirit move!
“YOU CALM DOWN GOD” was a phrase my wife uttered in her frustration after church service one day. Just when the Holy Spirit is about to move, it was time to move on. Just when you were about to truly worship God, the condescending and snobbish glare from certain people in the pew, would quench the Spirit, all for the sake of looking proper. “We want revival”…ok then…let it happen on God’s Terms, not yours.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
There are preaching styles that deal with topics & themes, and there are styles that expand upon a segment of scripture. Usually one or the other is done.
Why not both?
Make the point relevant and reachable by the people. Jesus took the Words from the Old Testament and spoke in relatable terms to the people of His day when He walked the earth.
I have no problems with expanding on scripture. Doing this adds depth to the message, but lets add relevancy to it as well.
TEACH IT ALL!!!
All ministers and various denominations cling to certain topics of the Bible, and revisit the same scriptures over and over again. Others stay in the New Testament only, while many keep to the Old.
The Bible is a big book, let’s go over all of it!
John Piper was confronted by a Pastor in a forum about eschatology, the area being the prosperity gospel. The Pastor brought up Mark 10:28-30 (read it for yourselves). Piper knew the passage, and his response, when confronted with a clear message from Jesus, which countered his ministry, was, “oh well.”
Just because a Pastor doesn’t agree with a passage, or doesn’t understand it, doesn’t mean that they should keep it form the flock.
“I know that if I were to go to another church, I would find something I wouldn’t like. I’m nobody special, as others are contending with this stuff as well. I have nothing against my current Pastor or church, and, on many occasions, I found the message to have some meaning. I won’t let my whims dictate my behavior, and I’m not losing faith in God, The Kingdom, nor the Bible.”
This is the exact conversation I have with myself every Saturday evening, before I go to church on Sunday. I’ll just get fed someplace else.