While I usually try to interject humor into my posts, I am not sure if I can today.
I grew up in an "Independent, Fundamental, Bible-Believing Baptist Church." Said so on the letterhead and weekly bulletin. I was there in its infancy when it ran under 100. At it's peak, we were averaging over 1,200, with a high outreach Sunday of over 2,500. (If you believe in numbers). We believed we were THE ANOINTED ONES who were right about everything!
It was the Conservative Revolution. It was the 80's. Reagan. The Cosby Show. Words that are commonplace on broadcast TV today were banned then.
Fortunately for me, I had parents who didn't mind if I listened to Contemporary Christian Music in the late 80's (which basically meant it had drums), didn't care if I didn't wear a tie on Sunday nights (ties and coat were still required on Sunday AM), and didn't mind me questioning certain things that went on inside our church (like wearing ties and coats on Sunday AM). In other words, I was the Liberal thinker in our Christian Academy. I even owned a Pink shirt.
So, while living through this, I became disenchanted with the US vs THE WORLD mentality.
As time passed, many of those churches, including mine, backed off many of the tenets that were proclaimed as SIN from the pulpit. How can things be SIN in 1985, but are ok, even commplace today? I digress.
I was hoping this beating down other evangelical churches was a thing of the past. The church I now attend is young (not yet a year old), and the Pastor is not the type to worry about what others are doing. Just focus on GOD and what HE wants US to do.
Driving home from work, I heard a short, 2 minute update/devotional/rant from some religious organization. He was bashing churches that want to be "relevent" and talk "openly and crassly about sex from the pulpit" in the hopes of "seeming hip and attracting people to church who normally wouldn't go." He then went on to pinpoint two pastors (of course, without saying their names) and talked about how they have "Watered down the gospel for the sake of relevence."
I listen to many sermons on ITunes and am pretty up to date on these new "relevent" pastors. He spoke specifically about Steven Furtick from Elevation Church. This is when I became angry.
Pastor Furtick is young. He does use modern media and movie quotes that I probably wouldn't. And that's ok. He has done at least two sermons on Sex and uses language that I probably wouldn't. And that's ok. He also doesn't use KJV, wears jeans, and allows his wife on stage to help with messages which don't bother me, but would many more conservative evangelicals.
But I have also heard his message on the Gospel.
I DARE YOU TO FIND ANOTHER PASTOR MORE PASSIONATE AND IN YOUR FACE ABOUT THE NEED WE HAVE FOR JESUS AS SAVIOR AND LORD!!! ON THIS ISSUE THERE IS NO COMPROMISE!!!
How DARE ANYONE say that he, or other "relevent" pastors (Noble, Driscoll, Groeschel come to mind) WATER DOWN THE GOSPEL! Anyone who hears these men address salvation, our depravity, our sinfulness, our need for confession would tell you IT IS ABSURD to imply that they are soft on hard issues in order to build a crowd.
It is so depressing to hear churches bash each other. I can imagine that God's heart hurts when He sees His children taking sniper shots at each other.
Pastors, mine included, need to FOCUS ON THEIR OWN FLOCK!
If you don't agree with how other churches operate, why comment? PREACH WHAT YOU FEEL IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND GIVEN TO YOU BY GOD FOR THE USE OF EDIFYING YOUR CONGREGATION!!!
And if lives are being led into a relationship with Father, leave others alone. We do not have to agree on everything...as long as we agree on the main thing.
And if these men and their ministries are drawing the unchurched, rough-around-the-edges, people who normally wouldn't go, then more Holy Ghost Power to them.
There is no way I could cover all that is to be said on this subject....just a lunch-time post.
***I would also like to add...while this post was spurred on by the anti-relevent, conservative radio spot, IT IS A TWO WAY STREET! It should be mentioned that it is JUST as wrong for someone outside the more conservative churches to throw stones at them. GOD is changing hearts and saving souls through many ministries. I was NOT bashing my Indy-Fundy upbringing. Just giving some bas for where I was coming from.
There...I feel better.