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.