May 25, 2008

Pop Goes the World, Not the Church!

Recently my friend Dean Lusk mentioned on his blog a book that he is reading entitled book "Pop Goes the Church" by Tim Stevens. Although I have not personally read this book, I did by chance find a video on Youtube whereby a local news station interviews Tim about his book and his church (Tim is a pastor of a Church in Indianapolis). After watching this video it becomes clear what Tim's intent is regarding what changes need to be made to the church in order to spread the gospel further within our communities. His answer: - modernize the church to reflect the culture of the day so that it will be more appealing to the masses. This includes infusing TV, Movies and Music of our culture into sermons and worship services.

But it seems to me that Tim is sorely misguided in his attempts to increase or make the gospel more "popular". Jesus says specifically that as Christians the WORLD will hate us - in other words the Truth of the Gospel is NEVER popular (something that totally contradicts "POPular Culture")! As a matter of fact it rails against what the world decides is important - ourselves! Pop Culture is not what the church needs, what the world needs is the church! Want to increase our churches, stop preaching the soft serve sermons of self-improvement, but rather the gospel of repentance of sin, the gospel of the Cross of Christ!

When the modern day church feels it needs to resort to such worldly tactics what it really is saying is it reveal our lack of faith in the gospel. In addition, when we say "Sinners won't come if we don't have something in the church that appeals to them." then we slander the cross! Christ said "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32) The lifting up Christ spoke of was His crucifixion! Paul realized this in 1 Cor. 1:17-18,

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Our faith is not in the wisdom, personality, or entertaining ability of men, but rather in the power of God. The bemoaning cry of those who justify worldly methods to win the lost makes it sound as if Christianity is desperate and that truth and the power of the Holy Spirit are insufficient to convert sinners. The gospel is an appeal to the conscience, not fleshly appetites. (2 Cor. 4:2). Sadly, the Church has had to resort to such activities because it has STOPPED preaching the Cross! Instead, its a happy feel good message of gooey selfishness! If we preach to man's conscience and not his flesh this will bring revival. (Revival is NOT about quantity, but rather the sincerity of men's heart and love for God).

Personally, I left the church several years ago for this very reason. When it was more important for the worship minister to breakout the disco ball and confetti canons for Easter Service, rather than preaching a message that will convict men's hearts and minds, it was time for me to go. We need to stop this insanity of thinking we need to improve our marketing tactics and get back to basics - Jesus hanging on a cross, suffering and dying for my personal sins. Reconciling me back to God through changing my heart and ultimate motivation for living.