There are some bizarre, outrageous, and flat-out unbiblical things going on in lots of churches. One so-called church sells beer, another worships Mother Earth, others use secular music during worship, others ordain gay leaders, and still others offer yoga. People are free to do whatever they want to try and make God fit their ideas and to offer services that cater to the desires of their congregations, but is this what church is supposed to be?
What happened to the emphasis on teaching God’s word of truth including sin and repentance, justification, God’s wrath, prophecy, future judgment, and sanctification?
Last week I reported on one of the most heart-wrenching stories I’ve tackled in quite some time. The Roman Catholic Church is reeling from the massive scandal involving homosexuality among priests and the rampant cover-up of sexual abuse that has continued for many decades.
But many Evangelical and Protestant churches have leadership problems of their own. This includes the progressive, seeker-sensitive Willow Creek Church in Chicago whose lead pastors and elders resigned in light of the Bill Hybels allegations of sexual harassment.
Countless churches seem to have lost focus and have gotten off track. We have lost our reverence for a holy God, and practically abandoned the once-solid foundation of the teaching of Scripture which is the primary purpose of the church.
Many conferences and church services today barely resemble the early church and what the Bible teaches, let alone point to Jesus Christ. Some people create gods and church services to suit their own interests while others rewrite Scriptures to justify their lifestyles.
Last month in St. Louis, a controversial conference took place called “Revoice,” apparently aiming to normalize homosexuality and affirm those claiming to be “LGBTQ Christians.” Can you say, oxymoron?
Christian talk show host, Janet Mefferd called for the unbiblical movement to be repudiated, saying:
“Revoice is incremental gay activism, designed to eventually lure conservative evangelicals into accepting ‘gay Christianity,’”
Next, there’s a progressive church in Santa Cruz, California that not only sells beer, but plans to donate proceeds to big abortion business, Planned Parenthood. Maybe the consumption of alcohol helps the pastor’s sermons sound better. This is a guy who preaches that Jesus was a Palestinian “killed by white supremacy.”
And who can forget our expose back in May on the San Francisco church that hosted what they called a “Beyoncé Mass?” It was quite an interesting take on worshiping, “Our Mother who is in heaven,” and endorsing Beyonce as a role model for young girls.
Then there’s a church in Atlanta that put a new twist in their Sunday morning worship show by adding scantily-clad aerialists as a regular part of their services. ‘Why in the world?’ you may ask. Self-appointed “Apostle” Bryan Meadows actually said:
“Because they shouldn’t have to go to the circus to use the gifts that God gave them!”
Just one more or we’d be here all day. Serita Jakes, wife of controversial, megachurch minister, T.D. Jakes, gleefully posted photos on social media of women doing yoga at the church during a women’s event on wellness.
Never mind the practice of yoga is a rooted in Hinduism, a 5,000-year old polytheistic religious system. Its purpose is to bypass the mind and yoke or “unite” a person’s spirit with the Hindu god, Brahman.
Heather Clark at Christian News Network reminds us:
“… Even the traditional Hindu greeting, Namasté, that is said at the end of yoga classes, is spiritual. When translated, it means, ‘The god in me bows down to (or salutes) the god in you.’”
The Spirit of Christ bows down to no one; He alone is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the only true, living God who is worthy of our true worship.
Romans 8:9 states:
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
And Exodus 20:3 states:
You shall have no other gods before Me.
Prior to building one of America’s first mega-churches, author, pastor, and motivational speaker, Robert Scheuller literally went door to door in the 1970s in Orange County, California, and asked people what they wanted in a church. Not what lost, hurting sinners need, but what they ‘want.’ This of course, has led to the “mega-church” and emergent church movement.
Men focused on church growth took a cue from Schueller and the rest is history. This has been a recipe for disaster in the American church, and it has led to well-deserved comparisons with the lukewarm church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, and a better understanding of why Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy. In the last days, men would be:
“treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Timothy 4:4-5)
Rather than be active participants in learning and sharing God’s Word, too many church members have been conditioned to sit back and listen to a program or presentation, and perhaps to a bunch of funny stories or analogies instead of being challenged by sound doctrine and the harder teachings of the Bible. Then there’s the music. Lots of talented praise teams are themselves being praised for performing entertaining, although often heartfelt music rather than leading the people to the Throne in the worship of a holy God.
A.W. Tozer once said:
“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment.”
We need to get back to the basics.
True disciples of Jesus Christ in the early church focused on four primary things: teaching the word of God with a focus on Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, prayer, communion, and fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42). They made disciples and they went out and shared the good news. They didn’t care about the approval of people – they sought to obey God. Their faith in Christ cost most of them their lives.
Today, too many churches use entertaining concepts and gimmicks to attract people, but then a new problem arises: in order to keep them in the comfy seats (and giving their tithes), you need to avoid controversial issues and often dilute the gospel so they won’t be offended.
What happens when you give people what they want instead of what they need which is Christ and His truth? Rather than being fed and equipped, countless hungry souls are walking out of many American churches feeling empty and unprepared to do God’s work. This must change – or we’re in bigger trouble.
*Originally published by Freedom Project Media
(Featured image credit: South Norfolk Baptist Church – worship in the 21st century)