Redefining Christianity: A letter from a church member whose church is in transition.
I am currently reading Bob Dewaay’s book ‘Redefining Christianity’. It is a good primer in understanding the purpose driven movement that seems to be invading Evangelicalism. Today we see highly ‘successful’ and highly publicised churches being paraded in the limelight as the models for church growth. They say that they “do church” for “the unchurched” (unconverted sinners). The statistics of numbers joining is impressive and along with this comes the usual usual prod in the ribs with the jesting question, ‘Hey, is your church growing like ours?’
A rather sobering letter is featured in the opening chapters of ‘Redefining Christianity’ from a church member who is from a church that appears to be ticking all the success boxes. Well all doesn’t seem to be green on the other side of the fence though. You see….
[Letter] There have been major changes at the church. When you walk in, you will now find a MAC machine, a coffee shop where you can purchase donuts, croissants, coffee, you name it. There are also about a hundred tables with chairs to sit and eat. When service starts there is smoke, lights, lasers, and music so loud my ears ring after church is over. This week there was a ten minute service. Then, our pastor demonstrated a soccer move he learned that week. He did a flip and kicked a soccer ball. Then, he set up a table and him and his wife talked to each other about their trip to Africa. On top of this, we no longer use the Bible. We use the ‘Purpose Driven Life’..
Although I do not attend the church any longer, I am concerned for those who do attend the church. It is a feel good church. They do not talk about the ‘Hard Truth’. I’m very afraid for those who are sitting there having a ‘blast’ while thinking they are going to Heaven but are dead wrong in most cases.
This case scenario has been repeated several times in many churches that are transitioning in to Purpose driven churches. The Bibles have been removed from the pulpits and entertainment is the new order of the day.
Changing the church to make it relevant and attractive to non Christians is a fatal ploy. Traditionally churches existed because God saved people and added them to the church – the church itself provided the means of grace. Pastors taught the Bible to the flock so that they would be spiritually fed. People who came worshipped God from the heart, rather than being prompted with teleprompters, gadgets and smoke machines.
We indeed are seeing a sad and tragic redefinition of Christianity.
I share your concern, but we should also be concerned about churches that seem to tick all the right boxes but have no real interface with the world. Mission is a forgotten word. Church and mission are two sides of the one coin.
You do make a valid point. We seem to have a new word these days that is rather vague and it’s “missional”. I prefer the old traditional “missions”. From which we got missionaries and going on missions. Good point indeed a church should never neglect missions.
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