Monday, September 8, 2008

Happening more and more

As tradition bound evangelical churches give way to more youthful megachurch formats I'm noticing a shift away from reason.

I've been ministering in Maine as an evangelical parachurch leader for over two decades now. Over that period it seems that common sense has decreased among evangelical Christians as power and influence have drained away from denominational structures. Political and social liberalism are becoming synonymous with worship and Christianity -- even in conservative evangelical churches.

We expect this in mainline and liberal "christian" churches. I find it shocking in Bible-teaching conservative evangelical churches.

Love, grace and kindness are all that matters now. It feels like our churches are no different from the local car lot, and we expect our leadership to act like salesmen. A car saleman will never offend a customer. Every car on their lot is perfect. If you point out a flaw they change the subject in a nanosecond pointing out some positive feature. They are continually mining for data during their conversation with you that will help them connect with you and sell the car.

Likewise, the pastor dare not offend, or we'll walk out the back door with our tithe never to return. We expect the church to always play up the positives of Christianity, the world and life. Sometimes it seems like the church infrastructure is designed like the local car lot. It is always mining for data to enable it to keep everyone happy. And we are eager to provide them with information that will help them make us happy.

In small rural churches this manner of doing church is devastating. The pastor only needs to lose a family or two and the church is living on its endowment to maintain the building, not to mention pay the pastor.

This approach to church and ministry lacks common sense and reason because we are talking about Bible-based churches. We are talking about communities that are sustained by regular preaching of the Bible. The Bible is the most discomfiting book on the planet. It is written to make everyone of us FEEL uncomfortable. God gave the Bible to MAKE US REASONABLE, by reminding us of how morally stupid we've become since eating the fruit on that tree.

Speaking of eating, when was the last time you heard a sermon on gluttony?

Yes, the pastor is supposed to love, counsel and comfort. More important, He is CALLED to proclaim truth from the Bible.

Sexual immorality is sin. It is devastating, and it is the most civilization-threatening agenda in our modern culture. If your church isn't confronting this issue head on from the pulpit, and in every age group in your church, then you need to be asking yourself if your church is Biblical.

You should be hearing sermons regularly about family and sexuality. There should be no question or controversy in your church about responding to the sexual immorality agenda of modern liberalism. This issue should be simple in your church. It is basic Bible.

I'll give you a recent example of what I'm talking about. I heard about a man who invited his church to support an effort to overturn bad laws related to the homosexual agenda. A powerful woman in the small church confronted him after the group strongly supported his appeal. In private the powerful person blamed the man for not influencing her daughter when she was in high school. He didn't know the daughter, had never met her and had no relationship with her. The man later learned the daughter is lesbian. The woman then cited negative gossip that she overheard in the vestry as reason to not confront the homosexual agenda publicly. The church board considered public support for the man's proposal over the coming months and ultimately decided not to support his reasonable proposal.

We run into this sort of thing all over Maine. How can the God who inspired Paul to condemn homosexuality as a sin that leads to eternal punishment in hell bless churches that won't apply this truth plainly in public?

I'll give you another example. In the last decade the frequency of attacks on the League from conservative Christians, pastors and supporters has increased. The attacks are often the same. We agree with your positions, they say. We disagree with the WAY you articulate the positions. When pressed they rarely give specific examples.

The League has refused to compromise with pro-abortion and pro-homosexual FORCES. This isn't personal for us. Liberals make it personal because it helps them politically. They are completely restructuring our laws with respect to family and sexuality.

This has made the League a target of the liberal and secular media. The intensity and frequency of their screeds has made it difficult for the ministry to accurately represent who we are, and what we believe, to the public. This seems to be poisoning the evangelical church.

We are dedicated to the proposition that sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Our civilization will continue to nurture this truth, or it will die.


  1. Mike,I am observing trends in Evangelicalism that are very much like what they took issue with Liberals over, decades ago. Where are messages on Hell? Where are standards of separation? Where is a clear-cut stand on verbal, plenary, inspiration? Where is a strong defense of 6 Days creation? How clear are prophetic issues? Where has strong application being made in messages,as opposed to just imparting information gone? On it goes! If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, then what? R.

  2. This reminds me of God's solemn warning in Jeremiah Jer 23:1-4
    "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the LORD. 3 "But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.
    Jeremiah wanted to shrink back from the persecution but, like any truly anointed pastor, he could not
    Jer 20:9
    9 Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him,
    Nor speak anymore in His name."
    But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
    Shut up in my bones;
    I was weary of holding it back,
    And I could not.
    For years I have noticed the shift to a post Bible era. You wouldn't expect this with the growth of Christian radio and TV,Christian bookstores, etc. - not to mention the "seeker friendly" churches that you spoke of.
    Go into any Christian book store and pick up some of the many new titles. Flip through the pages and see if you can find any Scriptures or even the word Jesus. You'll soon realize how far down the road we are to a post Bible age.
    There is such a disconnect between our church life of praise and worship and our daily lives of living out Biblical principles. We need a revival and I pray it starts with our preachers. Oh that the Holy Spirit would light such a fire that they cannot contain the truth even when they are tempted to.

    On a lighter note: Now that Paulie has had such an exciting brush with celebrity, will she still remember us "little people"? Enjoy!! Susan Blount