"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. -- Matthew 10:34-36 (ESV)
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has many facets and one of them is experiential Christianity. The simple understanding of this is that what we experience rises to the level of scripture if not surpasses it. What do you mean preacher? Think of the Holy Laughter abomination. When people would go to church and "experience" God by allegedly being made to roll around on the ground and make animal noises. Think of Pensacola and the Kundalini spirit outpouring where people where demonically influenced to spasm without control. They will swear to this day that this was an experience of God. It was not. The natural enemy of Experiential Christianity is of course the bible because the bible proves it is a fraud. This is why you have heard people like Bill Johnson marginalize scripture by saying we do not worship the bible. Yet the word says that Christ is His word, so maybe Bill ought to actually read his bible instead of trying to find ways to minimize it. Either way it is important to rebuke such teachings as you will find at the above link where Thomas McDaniels suggests that it is time to do away with church as we know it. Let us reason again together.
"The church as we know it has had its day. God has been in a box for thousands of years. The box is the church. This new decade is ushering in new challenges. One new challenge for the church in America is how to stop the bleeding. We have closed out two decades of the contemporary church. Not much has changed. We shifted from paneling to drywall, pews to chairs, Scriptures to stories and well-lit sanctuaries to darker rooms. This worked for a while but ran its course. We dressed it up and made it pretty, only to realize we were doing the same things in a change of clothes. People Want an Experience with God. The same old, same old is not attractive any longer. People are searching for a genuine experience with God." -- Thomas McDaniels
This is the deceptive cry of the NAR experiential preacher. That the problem infecting the church is actually the church but they wildly miss the point. The sad thing here is McDaniels actually highlights part of the problem. The real problem is the purpose driven, seeker friendly models of church have excommunicated the Gospel from the bride of Christ. The church is metaphorically bleeding because it has removed the blood of Christ. McDaniels says it right here. We have replaced scripture with stories. That is the strategy of the purpose driven movement. To replace the Gospel with motivational and self-help stories to meet felt needs of a lost world. The obvious problem is that only helps with the problems of this world and the church was meant to bring people out from this world. The shift from well-lit sanctuaries to darkened rooms is also the NAR strategy of spiritualizing emotion. It has worked in pure carnal terms by creating massive mega-church fiefdoms at the expense of actually saving anyone because we know the bible teaches that only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man. People do not want an experience with God. The bible says all have turned away. The Gospel can draw them back but make no mistake about what McDaniels is selling here. Experiential Christianity seeks to supplant scripture with personal experience. It is a false gospel. It is anathema.
"Barna research has reported: "While a majority of churchgoers said that enjoying church was a motivation for them to attend (65% of churched adults and 82% of practicing Christians), around half (57% of churched adults and 45% of practicing Christians) said people they know are tired of the typical church experience." Notice that people said "the typical church is tiring." Most churches are so predictable, with three songs, three announcements and a three-point sermon. Even God is tired of that! Is this not what we have defined as insanity? People Are Dealing With Real Problems. This is not the age where chewing gum in the classroom is our most pressing problem. This is the age where our teenagers are getting pregnant or addicted to pornography. Gender issues and suicide are normal struggles for this generation. We must have answers." -- Thomas McDaniels
Enjoying church is a motivational factor? The key verses remind us that Jesus did not come to bring peace but to divide one against one's own family. That is what the Gospel does. It forces you to decide between God and this world. The sadly ironic thing is McDaniels still cannot see that he is the problem he abhors. Think about his logic. A few decades ago the church shifted to this prettier version of church. Lights for darkness and scripture for stories. It worked for a while but now people are on to it. Now people see there is virtually no difference between church and the world. They can get the music from the club on Saturday nights. They can get the pep talk from a Tony Robbins podcast. They can get what the church is offering without having to actually wake up on Sundays. So his answer to these problems are not to return to the Gospel but rather to blow the whole thing up? Never mind that God goes to painstaking details in scripture as to the order and importance of church. He is right of course that people are dealing with real problems. Just like they did 50 years ago and a thousand years ago. Sure the cultural context is different but problems? We live in a sinful fallen world so we can always be assured there will be problems. McDaniels cries out that we must have answers but the truth is that God has the answers! To all of these problems! It is called the Gospel! Only in the heart of the truly depraved is God not enough.
"The Search for More. Church people are searching for a real God who handles real problems. The church must show their competence in handling the most difficult of life's challenges. There are legitimate answers in God's Word to the most challenging things in life. People have problems. We go to Walmart because it solves a problem; We drive by Chick-fil-A for the excellent food and the convenience. They solve the problem. The church must solve the problems of its members. Yes, then they will come. Traditions Are Not the Answer. Some traditions have value. Others, not so much. When we perform religious acts from tradition, we miss the experience of the action. To pray because it's tradition is not a great reason to pray. To pray and connect to God leads to life. The Spirit of God is the agent who gives life to our worship and our religious activity. "And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God" (Rom. 8:10, NLT). The Spirit gives life. Many are seeking life. Churches that are offering lifeless traditions will become less effective and less attractive. Attendance will continue to decline, and the church will die or only survive. Many churches are on life support." -- Thomas McDaniels