This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. - Ephesians 5: 32 (NLT)
People occasionally ask why I speak out so much against the theories of church growth that are corrupting the church today. What's the big deal if the church becomes seeker friendly? What is the big deal with the purpose driven agenda? What is so wrong about the friend of God theologies? While the answers are diverse and all important, I think we can always start with the lack of reverence found in modern church growth theories. Sure there is always sufficient lip service payed to Jesus but at the heart of the seeker friendly, purpose driven, friend of God theologies you will always find man. Churches try to be seeker friendly by sacrificing the Word of God for what man might prefer to see. Churches run under the purpose driven church model are all about plugging man into fill the holes in the operation of the church facility. Churches embrace the friend of God theology because it is an easier sell to man. That God is just dying to be your buddy! Nothing about sin a repentance. Nothing about picking up your cross to follow Jesus. Nothing about sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Nothing about His Lordship in our lives. No beloved; these things did not come out of the focus group studies. Instead, they now lump all of these core doctrines into the new doctrine of faux judgment; meaning anyone who dares to bring them up is being judgmental. At the end of the day however it doesn't matter what any of us say about God - it is only going to matter what the Bible said.
Then the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshiped God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, "Amen! Praise the Lord!" - Revelation 19: 4 (NLT)
The 24 elders and living beings fall down and worship God! The Apostle John fell down as if dead before the glorified Christ! Isaiah said woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips! When we remove the reverence for God from our faith we start down a road that no longer leads to Christ. Because at heart that is the issue. What Christ are we leading people to? The fluffy seeker friendly Jesus saves no one because there is no demand for repentance from sin. What truly matters in Scripture becomes marginalized. Slick new age pastors use Scripture to prop up their heresy instead of expositing the Word to find out what God has to say. Soon we think one compromise after another is no big deal. Our worship starts to focus on man instead of on God and our preaching ends up more concerned about entertaining man than about glorifying God. This week's case in point comes to us from Eugene Oregon and OneLove Church. At OneLove recently, Lead Pastor Tony Crank started a new sermon series called - "Church Sucks."
Pastor Crank seems like a good enough guy. I've been through his entire website and it seems he gets some things really right. But mixed throughout it is the obvious fact that he was raised in the purpose driven, seeker friendly, friend of God theologies. Just like the guru Rick Warren, Crank refers to the unsaved as unchurched. An oddity considering his apparent low opinion of church. The entire genesis for this idea Crank says is to appeal to people who have had bad experiences in church, or as I like to call them - nearly everyone. In order to really appeal to them he has "rebooted" his service including cutting the time of service down to about an hour. After all, in seeker friendly logic, what matters is man not God. What is important is catering to the flesh nature of fallen man instead of seeking to glorify God. Crank was not done with his "rebooting" however as he also incorporated all modern worship music and even substituted secular artists Katy Perry and Maroon 5 into the proceedings. For the record that is the same Katy Perry who had the smash hit with the ever-reverent "I Kissed a Girl and I liked it." Once again this is a glimpse into the purpose driven mentality. Worship becomes about entertaining the seeker - instead of glorifying the Savior!
But the time is coming--indeed it's here now--when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4: 23-24 (NLT)
God is not looking for people who can squeeze Him in for an hour on Sunday as long as they hear a couple songs that have nothing to do with Him written by people who do not even know Him. When interviewed about this campaign, Crank responded, " Some churches have become the kind of place where you point the finger, and you condemn and rebuke and you're really quick to do it, and so I think that is definitely lending itself to people not wanting anything to do with church and thinking church sucks! " First of all, no one can dispute that sometimes churches do act this way because they are filled with equally imperfect people. My advice if you find yourself in an over-condemning church that you should probably find one that has a more humble spirit in operation. The notion however that people might take offense at a genuine look at their own sin and thus we should change the nature of what the church is supposed to be is absolutely ludicrous. While I will assume Pastor Crank had the best of intentions - Katy Perry does not have the answers these people need and neither does Tony Crank. Only God does through the unfiltered Gospel of Jesus Christ.