The Word and the World…making a little sense out of the senseless

Philip Kevin Goff wrote:

If American culture has moved toward evangelicals’ practice of making the personal public, so religion has moved in the direction of the broader culture. The way worship is conducted in growing numbers of evangelical congregations now replicates what once was confined to the TV screen. Sitting in your living room, you may feel just as close to the pastor as you would at the 5,000-person mega-church down the street. Unless you join one of the mega-church’s cell groups, these institutions can be as impersonal as mass media. Moreover, a visit to your local mega-church–including Starbuck’s coffee, entertaining music and drama, and a short talk that seems less like a sermon than an inspiring self-help lesson–will not seem much different than a trip to the mall.

I have stated many times that the demise of the church occurs when the Word is not preached and the sacraments are not administered. It would seem conspicuous to surmise that we ought to re-prioritize what the church has for two thousands years. But the American church is not interested in the altar nor the pulpit, but rather transforming the altar into a booth for weekly programs and the pulpits into a therapeutic pharmacy (consider Joel Osteen). In his article: TV’s Healing Powers – What ever happened to the televangelists of the 1980s? Philip Goff underlines the tendency of the modern church to become like the world and the world to become like the modern church. What the church so desperately despised in the beginning of the 20th century is what the church has become in the beginning of the 21st. Is it any wonder that whereas mega-churches increase, knowledge of Sacred Writ diminishes? The significance of this event is that the church can now become a safe haven for non-church goers so that non-church goers will still maintain their title as non-church goers while still attending a so-called church. It is not enough to radicalize our ministry nor is it enough to stabilize our ministry. In the first sense, radicalizing ministries generally entail giving up the religion of our forefathers by adapting to contemporary culture. The Scriptures, however, sees this matter is reverse form: the culture adapts to the Bible. In the latter scenario, stabilizing our churches generally entail giving up on changes. They say, “Since culture is changing so rapidly we ought to remain as we have always been.” Though, if a lesser of two evils existed (the philosophy of lesser of two evils can only be taken seriously by Christians when a third option does not exist; since it generally and most often does, that theory is generally un-biblical), the latter would be preferable, but the reality is both are erroneous. At particular times the church needs to change. It ought to reflect not culture, but special revelation. It is my contention that when a church never seeks change it has committed the same error of the “radical” model stated above. Semper Reformanda signifies that daily conformance to God’s Word leads to change individually and corporately.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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