As I was watching our national news tonight I watched an enthusiastic female, who was a spoke person from the synod, which is meeting at present, announcethe momentous decision that women at last will be able to be appointed bishops. She was literally jumping out of her skin with anticipation of this great decision that the Anglican Church has decided. She was quick to add that the first female bishop in the Church of England will be announced within weeks.
The other day I was reading in our local national newspaper where a local church minister was writing a feature article that the church must move with the time and recognise and accept the Lesbian, Gay, Cross Dresser, and Transsexual community, instead a marginalising them.
These two pieces of news have set me thinking – how relevant is the church to today's generation? Should the church be constantly adapting and reinventing itself to remain relevant? Should the 'ecclesia' be leading the way and should they preach a message that is understood by today's technological savvy social media person?
The answer as I see it is that the core message of the church must remain but the delivery of this message may need to be adapted. But the difficulty if we do not keep ourselves walking in the light and being energised by Gods spirit is that we will loose sight of the core message. In adapting ourselves to serve the world we have, that is the church, undone ourselves and the message has been thinned so it has become as watery as a mussy omelette.
The salt has lost its flavour – this is a sad picture of today's typical church. The church of the living God has lost its taste and it no longer influences todays generation. The church is a dinosaur, for in becoming relevant we have become irrelevant, and inappropriate, a joke for the majority.
This is sad for all these well meaning saints were doing what they deemed best to keep the church and their faith 'modernized.' Perhaps this was their mistake – they did what they deemed best in their eyes and understanding.
This attitude reminds me of the story recorded in 1 Chronicles 13 where is seemed good to the people to bring the ark back to its rightful place, but on an oxen cart, rather than the shoulders of the Levites and Gods anger was against Uzzah.
I am mindful of what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2 – “On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.We are not trying to please menbut God, who tests our hearts.'
Three thoughts come from this passage – firstly the gospel was central to their message and they established this ethos in all the churches. The gospel was the reason for the church's existence. Secondly they were obedient to God and not trying to please their audiences. Thirdly they had a healthy fear of God who will ask them to give account before the judgement seat of their motives and words.
Contrast this to the modern 21st. century church's action and attitude.
But I will close with this thought. God's church that was established through the dearth of his Son, when his blood was shed for mankind will prevail, for a remnant will emerge at the appointed time just as a butterfly emerges from its cacoon and such electwill confound the world with mighty acts and deeds.
I cannot speak for what is happening in other countries but I do know what has happened to some "mainstream" denominations in the US that have gone down that road. I have a friend whose husband was in a delegation representing our area that attended a national meeting at which those objected to the proposed changes were not allowed to speak. My friend and her husband, like so many others, felt they had no choice but to leave their church. They simply could not condone what was being preached from the pulpit any longer.
My friends are not alone. About two weeks ago I came across some articles about one the most vocal denomination in regards to "adaptation". Over half their properties stand empty as they sued congregations that refused to "adapt" and insisted on clinging to God's Word. With more than 50% of their churches empty and the numbers dwindling (rather than increasing) in their remaining congregations, things are looking very grim. On the flip side, it seems that their former congregations, the ones that refused to "adapt" are growing.
A couple of years ago, my daughter-in-law who is in a handbell choir was going to be performing at Christmas Eve service at what used to be a very large church in a large city. This particular denomination had also voted to "adapt" and is struggling much like the first one I mentioned. After our family Christmas Eve celebration (I am a Scandinavian-American after all and therefore we celebrate Christmas Eve), we headed over to that church to hear my daughter-in-law play). In the songs we sang and the message I heard preached, there was something missing. It was Christmas Eve and there was no mention of Jesus. None whatsoever and this was in a church that claims to a mainstream Christian denomination.
This has been on my heart and mind for several years. My first thought is "be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ..."
It breaks my heart and the questions I have to field from my kids, especially the 19 years old as her friends remain "trendy" and she is verbally attacked for standing on sin is sin and righteousness is righteousness in Christ.
Younger one having "talent shows by primary "Christian" school youngsters with the "best" acts being ones I'd never let my son or daughter sing or dance too. The adult audience is clapping. laughing and cheering. Enough from me.
You are right - there will only be a remnant left and "will He find faith on the earth upon His return?"
This is comes at no surprise. We are warned in scripture that many will desire deception over the truth of the gospel"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."(2Tim. 4: 3-4) God is faithful, he never leaves His children in the blind. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Enjoyed reading your blog!
There is too much "worldliness" in the modern church.
We would do well to heed what scripture teaches about being friends of the world. What does that do, according to scripture? James 4:4, and 1st John 2:15,16.
We would do well to take those verses serious, with all this "love" talk going around. God bless