Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4:16 (ESV)
Renowned preacher Charles Spurgeon once lamented in a sermon, "The time will come when instead of shepherds feeding sheep, they will have clowns entertaining the goats." How prescient was that quote! Modern churchianity has become drunk on the wine of the Purpose Driven Church (PDC) and the seeker-friendly theories of church growth. Since the PDC teaches wannabe pastors that they are not shepherds but rather CEOs, it is no wonder we have a generation of false pastors polluting the pulpit of God with carnal tricks, motivational ploys and relevant life coach messages to entertain the goats that fill their pews. PDC creator Rick Warren once wrote an article advising pastors how to ensure their Easter visitors returned the following week. Are you ready for the sage advice? Don't preach the gospel. Sure, they need Christ but start with a four part sermon series on bettering their marriage or how to become more significant in their communities. You know, shared life experience. The fact that they are bound for hell? Ehh we can get to that at a future date. That's assuming they do come back, which most don't. Without the preached gospel, no one gets saved. We have seen churches turned into motocross tracks. Monster truck pulls. A now disgraced pastor once had his choir perform the ACDC metal song, "Highway to Hell" during worship. Just this year a mega church performed a purely carnal easter play instead of a sermon, which included secular rap songs that included the line "the magic in your pants is making me blush." The age of the clown is certainly upon us.
Before getting to the latest in clownery, let's consider the key verse. The Apostle Paul wrote this to his prote'ge', Timothy. Mr. Timothy was setting to take over the pastorship at the Church of Ephesus. Verse 16 in the fourth chapter should be internalized by anyone seeking to pastor the sheep of the Lord. You need to guard two things - your life and your doctrine. Now your life refers to your walk. How many times have we see pastors fall from grace because of indiscretion? They did not watch their lives very well at all. The other thing they have to watch is their doctrine. Beloved the gospel is paramount, and any revision, alteration, or modification is strictly forbidden by scripture. That includes dumbing it down, sugaring it up or trying to make it "relevant" to the very people who still think the things of God are foolishness. Salvation is a supernatural act of God that has very little to do with us. That is why Paul says to watch these two things to save both the pastor and his listeners! Do we get that! Do not fall for the lie of the devil that says it is only a little bit of fun! Clowns kill and they do so for eternity! With this as the backdrop, let me show the statement from the new pastors of Saddleback Church regarding their summer sermon series, "At the Movies."
It's a message series where we explore the biblical themes and meanings behind some of Hollywood's biggest hits. Each week we watch clips from a different film and hear a powerful teaching from one of our pastors"movies are a reflection of us " each story shows us a glimpse of the human experience". we'll be talking about blockbuster movies and how we can apply their messages to Scripture.
Did you catch that? Instead of applying the bible to our lives, these clowns want to apply the messages they glean from secular movies to the bible. Yeah, it doesn't work that way. Andy and Stacie Wood are the new 'pastors' of the 25,000-member, 14-campus Saddleback Church, taking it over from Rick Warren a few years back. Now Warren was as false as they come and no one has done more damage to the cause of modern Christendom than him but these two seem to have run with the torch they were handed, tripped, fell, and now the whole place is on fire. One of the movies they applied was Toy Story 4 and to really exegete the movie, they dressed as characters from the movie, while delivering the sermon. This is the very definition of clownery. Why in the world would anyone think that someone would be saved like this? The Gospel of Buzz Lightyear or Woody is not saving anyone! There is nothing spiritual to learn from this movie! Is there any reason to not understand why the way of Christ is mocked? Between this silliness and the NAR spewing hatred for the lost, is it any wonder more and more people refuse to go to church? If you were in desperate need for answers in a world that's much too dark, how would you feel walking into a church to find the pastors dressed like morons?
Before you go thinking this is an isolated incident, please realize this "at the movies" nonsense occurs at many mega churches each summer. Another recent example is Life Church, led by lead wolf, Craig Groeschel and they too run this absurd series of sermons each summer. This is an 85,000-member church spread across 40 locations. We have confirmed that at least two of these, one located in Wellington Florida and the other in Albany New York, had a Jurassic Park themed church service. The lobbies were fully decked out with props from movies, shrubbery, hanging vines, a cavern system and a waterfall. They also have several animatronic dinosaurs to recreate the famous movie zoo inside of their church. Why not? It is doctrinal zoo anyway. The promo claims that Pastor Craig creates a message based on the movie, but he is not the site pastor at either of these sites. It is reasonable to conclude then that not only did these two sites produce these horrifically bad services, but the alleged pastors preached a word from someone else.
Does anyone remember Sam Neill being saved for heaven after being saved from the velociraptors? Me either. There is no T-Rex in the bible. I like movies just as much as the next guy, but this is pollution of the pulpit pure and simple. These are hirelings behind the holy desk who seek to entertain and not preach. To say they are clowns is an insult to clowns. Beloved, the gospel of Jesus Christ is enough. It does not need relevancy. It does not need distraction. It does not need dinosaurs. These two combined churches serve over 100,000 people. That is over 100,000 people who heard the musings of idiots about Jurassic Park and Toy Story instead of the gospel. No salvations. No spiritual growth either. No one was fed. Spoiled milk from spoiled men who are making merchandise of the sheep. To alter a famous line from the dinosaur franchise, they were so enamored with if they could do this, that they never bothered to ask if they should. Life may indeed find a way in the movies, but this clown show will only lead to death beloved. I would say mark and avoid but if you are going to services like this, you need much more help.