Friday, June 29, 2007

Youth Ministries? Part 1

I know that I am bound to make people mad at this post. That is ok. My goal is to get people to think and to live a life that pleases God. I think the best way to handle this post is not to get emotionally involved and consider the content. Is there any truth to it? Is it a valid point? Also, I would ask that before you bring out your pen (sword) please consider some of the questions that I am raising.

For a while I have wondered about Youth ministries. Is the youth minister a scriptural office? What is the point to a "youth ministry" led by a certain leader?

I understand that many of you are thinking about how your children have been blessed by the young man who is the youth leader or youth minister. Let me get straight to the point.

1. Why would I want my child going to a young man telling him things that he should be telling his father and/or mother?
2. Why do most youth ministries seem to specialize in entertainment and teaching the Word seems to be minimized?
3. Why do we want the children/youth separated from the parents more than they already are?
4. What did the youth do before youth minstries existed?

I pose a few questions here with the intention of answer a few and asking a few more in my next post.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pragmatism Illustrated

I am sure that many of you have seen this but it is definitely worth a second look.

We have become so focused on results that the means in which those results are acquired does not matter. Just as long as it works, that is what matters.

"The greatest threat to the gospel specific to today is the indirect challenge of pragmatism among evangelicals". --Mark Dever

I believe Satan has had to put no effort into growing this into our mindset. We want our church to grow. We want to see people saved. But somewhere down the line we have crossed over into secular territory because it appears to work. Of course it works. You are baiting the world with the stuff the world loves. Who wouldn't come to that? Just like mice and cheese. You give the world what they want and bam, growth.

"The most insidious opposition to the Gospel has come from within worldly churches." --Iain Murray

But I think the church is guilty on two major fronts.

1. We are compromising our integrity and purpose as a church. Instead of preaching "Christ and Him crucified" we give them toys, fun, and no words from the Word of God. That might run them off as Schuller says. We continue to give the masses what they want instead of what they need. But as we do this a problem comes in and has to be addressed. To keep this flow of people growing and entertained you have to feed this "machine" of sorts, or it will break down. When it breaks down, God might just "lead them to the church down the road."

2. Supposing that you really do want people to be saved and you really do want to preach the gosepl to them once they are in the door. You have tricked them by deception. You have baited them with fun and activities and now you pull the rug out from under them to preach about sin and salvation. They thought they were coming for fun but you have changed directions on them. This is being dishonest to the people.

Both of these are wrong in God's eyes but the last one is wrong in the world's eyes.

"The biggest mission field in America is professing-Christianity". --John MacArthur

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ridiculous- What Has Happened To The Church? Part 3b

Division is just over the horizon.

The idea of a denomination dividing or splitting is troubling. If one group is standing on solid ground doctrinally and the other group isn't, then the split is necessary. The issue that bothers me is a subtle one.

In the June 21, 2007 edition of the Christian Index an article struck me.

"Half of SBC pastors believe in private prayer language"

Traditionally, Baptist have been those who did not adhere to the use of Tongues as used in churches of other denominations. Most that I have talked to believed it was totally unscriptural or simply a gift that has ceased.

Well, times have changed. It appears that at least half of the pastors in the SBC believe in a private prayer language; a.k.a. tongues.

Add to this ABP's article quoting Jerry Rankin (President of the SBC's International Mission Board) stating that he has practiced a private prayer language for more than 30 years and you have something that is a concern to many.

I do not want to use this post at this time to debate Tongues. What I am concerned with is losing our identity. I posted about this a while back.

Then we see "Messengers on June 12 approved a motion – 58 percent to 42 percent – to affirm the BFM as the denomination’s "only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs."

It appears some do not want to stand behind the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) as a basic primer for our belief. Others think it should be more strict while others think it should be left up to the institution, church or group to interpret what it means.

The closeness of the vote and on Tongues shows a clear division on where we stand.

This post is nothing more than rambles I know. But I am concerned that as we progress our doctrine is going to become less and less important and that experience will be the rule of the day.

We also have to realize that just because someone has "experienced it" does not make it a valid practice or teaching.

Monday, June 25, 2007

How Low Can The Church Go?

It amazes me what a church will do to try to reach people. This is hellish (no pun intended). As I've said before, "Is our product (the gospel) so inferior that we have to doctor it up to make it more palatable?"

The church must look so desperate to the world. They must think that our life and message is a joke.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ridiculous- What Has Happened To The Church? Part 3a

This is the third installment in this series and there appears to be no letting up.
I have called this post "3a" as opposed to "3." The reason for this is that I plan to delve further into the mire of the SBC's convention news with follow-up posts that are equally, if not more, aggravating, discouraging, or simply ridiculuous.

As a Southern Baptist pastor it pains me to see the convention gather every year for fear of what nonsense is going to take place. This year is no exception. I will get right to the point.

The Christian Index, the Southern Baptist bi-weekly newspaper for Georgia, shares the first bit of nonsense.

California pastor Rob Zinn preached the convention sermon and delivered a similar message, saying, “We are a denomination that talks a lot and does little when it comes to evangelism.”
Addressing the topic of dismal baptism numbers within the SBC despite lofty goals, Zinn said, “Our attitudes stink.” The denomination, he added, must be willing to change its methodology while staying true to the gospel message. One of the changes, he added, includes music. His church uses a blended style. He asked grandparents in the audience, “How many of you love those grandkids enough you’d be willing to change your music for them?

“[I]f we’re going to win [young people] to Jesus in this culture, we’re going to have to be willing to change our mindsets,” said Zinn, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif.

“Folks, what you did in the [19]40s and what you did in the 50s isn’t going to win this culture to Jesus.”

So, does this mean that the Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose again in 3 days is not good enough to save today's young people?
Does this mean that the music is what we are trying to win them with and win them to?
Does this mean that the Gospel is changing?

I know what some are saying as they are reading this.
"The methods change, the message doesn't."

I say that in this process the message is changing also. We have to invent ways to make the gospel more appealing and tasty for our audience. We have to make Jesus out to be a comedian with His hat turned to the side, wearing low and baggy pants, listening to music that really says nothing but is loaded with personal pronouns, drinking a beer (for the Driscoll fans) with a little cussing to impress the youngsters, and leading games at church since sermons are boring and long.

I say this is the kind of foolishness that the church is drinking, eating, and wanting more of everyday.

May the Lord have mercy on us.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Excellent Post

The Isle of Hope has a great article here. Good to see someone addressing this issue.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ridiculous- What Has Happened To The Church? Part 2

From the first post in this series...

"Or better yet, let's Christianize something worldly."

Why does the church feel that they have to Christianize things that are of the world? Is it to make it more palatable? Does the church feel that their "product" (the gospel of Jesus Christ) is so inferior that it must be dumbed down or re-packaged to appeal to the masses? Enter American Idol.

I have never seen American Idol but it appears to be a popular show. I find it interesting that we are to avoid idols and now we have a show with that name in the title. I suppose the premise is to become a star so that others will look up to you; hence Idol.

A church in Anderson, South Carolina, decided to have an American Idol type of contest. Notice the song and the lyrics.

Truly, is our messages so boring and unimportant that we have to spice church up so that the world will come? Again, if our goal is to fill the church with warm bodies, then this is good.

I wonder if we give Jesus action figures away, will the little ones come in droves? What if we pipe in movie snippets on a screen and form a sermon around the movie, will the moms and dads come?

“It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout well done to the Christian man.”- Charles Spurgeon.

Pirates of the Magesterium!!!

I was noticing Sacred Sandwich's site and found this little gem.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nothing Like Hearing It From a Heretic's Mouth!!


It seems that a church in Cologne is having or has had a service with the theme "Erotic Church Service." Read this and you will see what I mean.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tozer Speaks From The Grave

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.

--A.W. Tozer

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ridiculous- What Has Happened To The Church?

This is a series of posts that I have titled... Ridiculous-What has happened to the church?

The question that I am most often asked of late is what is wrong with the Warrens, Hybels, Schullers and Osteens of the world.

Gary Gilley says...

"The problem is that the main business of entertainment is to please the crowd, but the main purpose of authentic Christianity is to please the Lord."

My question is...
If this is the case then why is the church spending its time entertaining the world instead of pleasing the Lord?

That is where my beef with the above mentioned men (amongst others) come in. They seemed to have adopted the view that if it works, let's do it.

Now keep in mind, if our job as spiritual leaders is to populate the church then these men have excelled in great fashion. But that is not a scriptural view of the pastor or church.

We, as Christians exist for the Glory of God. We are to live holy God honoring lives. God is the one who brings increase to His church. With this in mind we have to consider how the gospel and the church are being sold out to the highest bidder. The highest bidders for the church are warm bodies (saved or not) and the highest bidder for the gospel is entertainment. Forget preaching about sin, the cross, denial of worldly pleasures, fasting, witnessing and holiness.

Enter entertainment. Rock bands that mimic secular musicians, puppet shows so that the kids want to come, senior adult trips to wherever, marriage conferences to draw the maritally challenged, pizza parties and extreme games so that the youth will come is the order of the day. "Hey, whatever it takes to get them here."

This pragmatism is hellish. We bait them with the world. Whatever the world is doing let's do it. Or better yet, let's Christianize something worldly.

In my next post I will go over that last sentence and elaborate.


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