2 of our sons were working on service hours for their TN Promise awards recently when one of them was approached by an older man who struck up a conversation with him which turned into talk about where this man went to church and how wonderful his church is and what makes his church different than all of the other churches around here. He went on to explain how his church uses music to attract young people because that's how you get young people to come to church. My son made my day when he told me what his response to this man was,
"Jesus isn't enough?" 😊
I saw this today and have decided to expand on it-
"It is quite true that when the blessing of God is removed from a modern evangelical church, the results are immediate and pathetic. If the Spirit of God is not inhabiting the preaching of the Word, there is nothing left but bare walls. But when the Spirit is driven out of an Eastern Orthodox sanctuary by the smoke of candles and the veneration of saints, it will be about a millennium or two before anyone notices He has gone -- because even when He isn't there, the place still feels holy."
~Franky Schaeffer Hasn't Left Contemporary Christianity, Antithesis Covenant Community Church of Orange County (O.P.C.)
Did you catch that? What's the difference between true Holiness and a place that merely feels holy?
It seems to me that this same thought can be applied to modern evangelicalism in many ways. Hyper-Arminianism is under the influence of pragmatic, touchy feely, secular humanism. In a recent video on evangelism that I watched called, "Why Is Modern Evangelicalism Failing?" cotton candy and popcorn churches were brought up which made me laugh/cry because we actually attended a Christmas eve service at a church where popcorn machines were present. We have also attended Sunday services where smoke machines and laser lights were used and the music was so loud that our ears are still bleeding. The sanctuary was a stage, the congregation, an audience. This led us to ask, so how long will it be before anyone realizes the Spirit of God has left the building? We could easily apply the above quote to the modern evangelical church:
But when the Spirit is driven out of a modern evangelical sanctuary by the smoke machines and the laser lights, the cotton candy and the popcorn, the pizza and the chili dogs, the bouncy houses and the squirt guns, the Jesus is my boyfriend lyrics and the loud music, the group therapy sessions and psychologist pastors; how long will it be before they notice the Spirit has left the building? How long will it be before they notice the Spirit is not applying the preached word to hearts and minds?
If the Spirit is not applying the word, then maybe we had better get busy building stronger boot straps for people to pull themselves up by. How many of us are left who even understand the concept of the Spirit's work in the Lord's Day service? Why would we expect to receive the Spirit's blessing on a service where he is no longer present due to the unacceptable worship and pragmatic methods being offered to him? And what about those who have turned to staying home to listen to sermons on their tv or their computers and church has become The Church of ME and my wife? Will the spirit bless those efforts when we have specifically been told to not give up meeting with one another?
“That is why we must come back to our first principles. And the most basic of these is the fact that God is there and that he is objective to us. He is not there to conform to us; we must conform to him. He summons us from outside of ourselves to know him. We do not go inside of ourselves to find him. We are summoned to know him only on his terms. He is not known on our terms. This summons is heard in and through his Word. It is not heard through our intuitions.”― David F. Wells, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World
As I sat in the pews of 1st Presbyterian Church this past Sunday admiring the high arch of the ceiling and it's beautiful wood work, I noticed that even the frames around the stained glass in the front of the sanctuary pointed to heaven, I couldn't help but think about the Holy One and that even the building communicated that this is a place where people meet with the Holy One to worship and serve Him. The thought of the possibility of having to turn the lights off for the last time in there cracks me up. The fact that most people don't even realize that this sanctuary communicates things about God to us cracks me up even more.
"The consecration of sacred space does not end with the close of the Old Testament. It is rooted and grounded in the act of creation itself, and something profoundly important to the human spirit is lost when it is neglected."~RC Sproul, "The Holiness of God"
Maybe if we drill down to the root of the problem, what we will find is a lack of faith? A lack of faith in the power of the gospel, the preached word, and in prayer. A lack of faith that causes us to resort to other things like music and pizza. Maybe the remedy is faith:
A Gracious Warning- https://www.wolfriverchurch.org/sermons/a-gracious-warning/
*These audio sermons are not meant to replace your involvement in the life of your local church, particularly in the public worship of God. They are especially not a substitute for the unique benefit of sitting directly under the preaching of a minister who knows you and cares for your spiritual well being.
Pastor Mark Winder, Wolf River Presbyterian Church (OPC), holds informal worship services at 1st Presbyterian Church in Adamsville on the last Sunday of every month @ 5pm where he preaches nothing but Christ and him crucified. Y'all come!
Pray for our churches, pray for a return to worship that pleases our Lord, pray for a return to true evangelism (the one the Apostle said the power is in) and for churches that preach nothing but Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (NIV) Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Romans 1:15 (NIV) That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. 17 For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”…
1 Corinthians 2:2 (Berean Study Bible) For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
We meet every Wednesday evening at 7pm and every Sunday evening at 5pm for Bible study.
Pastor Mark holds informal worship services on the last Sunday of every month at 5pm.
We meet at 1st Presbyterian church in Adamsville, TN 328 Old Stage Rd.
West Tennessee Reformed is a conservative Presbyterian church planting effort where Christ is preached consistently and where God speaks powerfully through his written word, The Holy Bible.