Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Insist on God-centered worship

In Matthew 10:32-33, Christ wasn't just talking about a public witness or an aggressive evangelistic campaign, all laudable and necessary activities. His statement was a clear condemnation of any tendency to truncate Christianity, to relegate it to personal and private realms while we let Satan freely roam the streets of the public square.

read more digg story

The direction of the seeker-sensitive and emerging church movements have the misconception that to win the world to Christ, we must first win the world's favor. Ever notice that?

When compromise creeps into the churches, God-centered worship gets pushed aside.

It's as if they are saying to the masses of Christian believers that if we can get the world to like us, then they will embrace our Savior.

The more I think about why the book "UnChristian" bothered me, the more I realize that it is because of the unbiblical advice it gives. The authors wanted to convey their opinions that Christians should try to make unconverted sinners feel comfortable with the Christian message.

It may sound very nice, warm, fuzzy and friendly - especially to people who value such postmodern ideals. But in reality, it can be taken way to far and become a form of compromise with the world. James called it spiritual adultery (see James 4;4).

You may be asking why would such movements be labeled as "spiritual adultery?" It is because of the fact that such compromise leads people away from the truth of the gospel message. It gives way towards skepticism.


Because knowingly or unknowingly, adherents to such movements are trying to make the offense of the cross more palatable to unbelievers. Some churches involved in these movements are even eliminating the necessity to preach the cross of Christ! Thus, those Christians who are steadfast in taking a stand for the truth are actually shunned from making biblical messages clear.

Biblical Christian detractors use such terms as "hateful" and "intolerant" incorrectly in this postmodern age. Such detractors are guilty of contributing to the decline of discernment in the contemporary church.

Jesus himself clearly taught what believers would face when we fight for the gospel of truth:

Jhn 15:18
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

Jhn 15:19
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jhn 15:20
"Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Jhn 15:21
"But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

One of the huge dangers inherent in Christians trying to accommodate the world through the various heresy movements out there is the fact that as biblical preaching decreases, ignorance of Scripture grows. This leads to the future decline of discernment. See the vicious circle that occurs?

Truth is unchanging. Yet, when discernment is forfeited, doctrinal confusion rises. Next, Christians lose precise theology, precise morals, and precise conduct.

The word of God is settled forever in heaven (see Psalm 119:89). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (see Hebrews 13:8). God Himself does not change (see Malachi 3:6).

So my question is, how could true Christians ever view truth as transient, pliable, or adaptable?


Matt W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt W. said...

Sadly Truth and Absolutes are two things thar are largely tossed by the wayside these days. We know that God's Truth is Absolute, and unchanging, as God is unchanging.

I think that some might get confused because, after all, who enjoys being hated? But obviously Christ wasn't telling us that we were going to like it, just that if we stood up for him, we would have to endure it.

I'm not a fan of the "slippery slope" arguments that we hear so much about in the MSM these days, however, that is exactly what we have hear. It doesn't take much to throw people off of God's plan, and once that happens... well, a little leaven...

Christinewjc said...

Hi Matt,

First, thank you for staying on topic. The discussion about the article over at Digg apparently has morphed into Ron Paul political commercials!

You are right. God's absolute truth is unchanging. However, many people today don't want to believe that. Even some Christians! They think that truth is relative (the "that's your truth is different") seems to work quite well with them. Some even think that there are no absolutes in this life (especially when it comes to moral absolutes)!

Christians today are hated for any number of reasons. But I think that when Jesus told us that we would be hated by the world, the main reason would be over their objections, and rejection of Jesus Himself; as well as the "offense" of the cross and the gospel of truth.

People hate absolutes. When Jesus told us that He is "the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me," today's world sees that as "intolerant" of other religions!

See? Tolerance trumps truth in our postmodern world. The strange thing is, the definition of "tolerance" has been hijacked to mean "acceptance." Using the original meaning of the word, I can tolerate Buddhism. But it doesn't mean that I accept those beliefs as true. Why can't I accept those beliefs? Because they do not line up with what Jesus has revealed about himself in the Bible.

Matt, the slippery slope in Christian circles is getting worse! All of these offshoot groups (i.e. Emerging church movement, ReThink conferences etc.) are pulling Christians away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I have written about this in previous blog posts.

The danger in this is the fact that so few Christians today are biblically strong and literate. Therefore, they tend to follow any trendy thing that looks good to them.

I almost fell for it, too! The entire "Purpose Driven Life" phenomenon seemed good on the surface. But as I delved deeper into the philosophy involved, I noticed a huge error. The cross of Jesus Christ is decreased (sometimes eliminated entirely!) and the seeker-sensitive, New Agey "feel good about yourself" stuff has taken the place of adherence to the true gospel and Great Commission commands of Christ!

I'm not saying that Christian believers cannot feel good about themselves. But the Joel Osteen "methods" of "worship" appear to be working on fleshly desires rather than spiritual growth!

How true is your "a little leaven" comment! When groups within Christendom veer off the solid, Biblical path, their preaching becomes soiled. And, like leaven, it spreads rapidly through the "whole lump" towards error!

It is difficult to sum up the errors of these offshoots of true Christianity. But John MacArthur's great quote covers much of it:

How do we grow spiritually? By "speaking the truth in love" to one another. We grow under the truth. It is the same truth by which we are sanctified, conformed to the image of Christ, made to be mature spiritually (John 17:17,19). As we absorb the truth of God's Word, we grow up and are built up.

- John MacArthur