Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Calling All Churches! Return to the Word!
I just finished reading The Sufficiency of Scripture (by Joseph Stephen). It's a great book, one that allows the scripture to speak for itself, and I am definitely adding it to my list of recommended readings.
If you've been around my husband and I for any amount of time, then you likely know that we're pretty passionate about churches boldly living and proclaiming the Word of God, not conforming their methodology and message in order to bring in more people. Today's church is fighting the same battles we see in the pages of Scripture, which is why the apostle Paul spends a lot of time exhorting, rebuking, and encouraging the churches of his day.
In his book, Stephen writes, "It is very wrong of us to bring the elements of the world into our worship and remembrance service. When we do so, we rob God of His rightful glory. It is very wrong to change our operation to accommodate unbelievers. After all, we are setting an example to them and not them to us. Our evangelism and explanation of worship and remembrance must be done outside of this time as this time is the Lord's. If one comes into our meeting off the street and sees our manner of worship, that person will know of a truth that God is among us. By accommodating the world in our manner of worship, we are proclaiming that the world's ways and idols are acceptable. Some of the idols that rob God during this time are entertaining music, rousing speeches to whip up emotion, self-centered songs that talk about 'me', etc. It is clear from Scripture that Paul never used cunning devices to proclaim truth. He spoke with simplicity and only used God's Word."
So many churches today cater to the lost. Church has become a place of entertainment, centered around the people rather than focusing on worshiping God. Many people have stood in disagreement with us when we have said, "Church is not for the lost." Biblically speaking, the Church is Lord Jesus' bride. We are His people. When gathering together to worship and praise Him, our Lord should be our focus- this is not a time of evangelism. This is not to say that the church should not gather for the intent of evangelizing the lost, but one who is lost is not capable of worshiping "in spirit and in truth" as we are commanded to do. They are not to take part in this "ceremony" nor are they to take part in communion. This is not to say there won't be lost people present from time to time, but that certainly doesn't mean we need to water down our message or sprinkle in entertainment for them so we can keep their attention. No, the lost would benefit from sitting through bold, biblical worship and praise (which includes teaching and preaching). Hopefully it will stir their heart to conviction, godly grief, and repentance!
Unfortunately, today's churches want to cram all they can into one day. Therefore, each Sunday they attempt to pack worship, praise, teaching, encouragement, and evangelism into just an hour or two. Correction and rebuke are often left out because it's just too "offensive".
People today today have gathered themselves teachers and preachers who will coo into their itching ears what they want to hear. [2 Timothy 4:3] And, these teachers and preachers are happy to do it, because it brings them more members, more money, and more earthly honor.
The church has adopted many of the world's ways and does not even realize it. Instead of digging into the Word of God to see what God desires of and from the church, we look to those around us. We adopt the ways of other successful pastor and churches, mimicking them instead of Scripture.
It's time to get back into the Word and truly seek out God's direction for ourselves, our families, and our churches- which all should work together and not contradict one another.
Here's a video Paul Washer posted some time ago that goes along with this subject: