Written by. Theodore Zachariades
There is a strange phenomenon that has increasingly made itself dominant within Evangelical congregations. It is this monstrosity of entertainment as an aspect of worship. What one sees first on many church websites is a collage of pictures of children playing games, in youth groups, no doubt, or pictures of the congregation outside having a cook out, or worse still, a light and smoke show, ala Lady Gaga or Justin Timberlake, front and center during the regular worship hour. This is spiritual degeneration at lightning speed, even as the numbers are increasing so “growth” is bursting at the seams. What a contrast is this mentality to the focus of worship in Scripture.
The New Testament church did not have VBS where children play games and do crafts. The New Testament church had no ministers of youth, creative arts, recreational directors or even music ministers. The church was served by elders as leaders, and deacons as servants. The centrality of Prayer and Word ministry was paramount. The church today is nothing like the authentic Bride of Christ that is being washed by the water of the Word. What passes for the church today is an ugly pseudo-bride that is drowning in the water of the world. To join many, if not most, of today’s religious establishments that parade themselves as Christ’s people is to enter the gates of hell itself. This is not the Christian church but an anti-Christian mimic.
Pastors of these so-called churches are politicians that must ensure the machinery of the organization runs smoothly, so they will be as conciliatory as possible. There is a marked eirenic niceness that passes for supposed Christlikeness, but in reality is cowardly. This false peace is there so no one is offended. The messages are designed to meet felt needs not real ones. Wolves proliferate and “Pastors” are silent. Whether it is the Purpose Driven Life, Your Best Life Now, we are headed for eternal ruin.
Even in churches that are supposed to be stalwarts of the gospel in the Reformed tradition, whose gospel summary of Scripture alone, Christ alone, Grace alone, Faith alone, core approach which alone leads to the glory of God alone, have abandoned this and now follow in the footsteps of the contemporary trends that seek to get people in the building of the “church” rather than seeking to get them into the body of Christ.
The sufficiency of Scripture is betrayed on all fronts as we invest in lighting and mood making equipment. We show movie clips and play worldly music in our worship gatherings believing that these accoutrements are what really impress people. All this is increasingly becoming the dominant way to do church. Gone are the days it seems where simple faith in the gospel to do its mighty work was fully trusted and we showed this trust by putting an emphasis on expository proclamation.
If we are to see real quality and quantitative revival of an authentic movement of God, we must as Christ’s letter to the Ephesians commands us to Remember from the heights we have fallen, to Repent, and to [Re]do the first works. If we do not, and surely to date we have not, then we shall see many a lampstand removed in judicial action by Him that loves His true Bride. Indeed, the proliferation of the “modern church” is abundant evidence of that removal! God have mercy on us all!