THE CHURCH IN THE AGE OF RELATIVISM

Next door to my daughter’s apartment is a prominent downtown church; a rather large one.  She invited me to go with her to explore the possibility of her making it her church home.  There was no one to greet us, only a sign notifying attendees to help themselves to the daily program.

After being seated, I opened the program.  The “service” was “Honoring Great American Feminists; Bella Abzug, Hillary Clinton, Angela Davis, Betty Friedan, Oprah Winfrey,  Gloria Steinem, and a few names I didn’t recognize.  The music consisted of the organ playing; no congregational singing.  The Pastor/Speaker reminded us of a few community activities and then directed those gathered to refer to the program.  His “sermon” started out by reminding us of the “The Day of the Woman.”  So far, we heard nothing about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Nicene Creed, Abraham, Samson & Delilah, or the Virgin Mary, nor was a Scriptural basis used, not even Proverbs 31:10-31.

We had enough so we left …; and a few others did the same.  If I’m not mistaken, we thought we would hear something about Jesus.  Sorry Charlie!

Relativism is the philosophy that truth is only that which stands side by side to each individual’s beliefs and experiences, or more authoritatively, it is “any theory holding that criteria of judgment as relative, varying with individuals and their environments.” [Webster Dictionary]. In English it means: truth is not absolute!  In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet and Rosencrantz are talking: “Since nothing is really good or bad in itself – it’s all what a person thinks about it.”  So there is no truth, it is only what you think about it through your experiences of life.  

Therefore, basic and fundamental truth does not exist according to relativism.  Everything is nuanced.  To be up to date and appeal to the younger crowd, the millennials, the hip Preacher/Speecher, is required to make the Bible “a living, breathing” document, relevant to todays way of thinking.  Forget theology.  Forget thee’s and thou’s.  OK?  Some will say, “Its better to get them through the doors of the church than to force them to stay at the nightclub!”

Activities, music and customs have always changed with the times.  No problem so far.  But wait a minute-wait a minute.  It has only been in the last 50 to 60 years that the Christian beliefs taught in the Nicene Creed have been deleted from our pulpits.  Consequently, most of the younger crowd today know nothing about the Trinity, or heaven or hell or sin.  They may know a little about the niceties of accepting Jesus as their personal Savior, but please don’t make them cry over Calvary or the blood.  If you preach too strongly about repentance and confession of sins, we’ll just go to another church.  We want to hear things that lift us up and make us feel good – “Lord knows how we need to hear some good stuff with all the bad things we see on TV news and besides, isn’t there only one God anyway?   We can be like Ancient Greece with many gods.  Since Christian theology and the Christian belief system has been thrown out the window, we can say that the golden calf, Allah, Thor, Jesus and whoever can be a god to us.  

Trinity?  “Forget it.  I can/t explain it anyway.”

Heaven?  “Do you mean aliens in spaceships?  UFOs?”

Repentance?  “Well, I’m sorry for a lot of things.”

Praying?  “Omg yes. I pray all the time.”

Living a holy life?  “You gotta be kidding.  I’m no monk.  And nobody’s perfect.”

“You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you —keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (msg)

What is the true church?  Is the church of which Jesus is the founder an organization, an ornate, architectural building or arena or auditorium filled with happy-happy people listening to the latest rock music and a Speecher who stands on stage with one hand in the pocket of his torn jeans wearing sneakers while he make everyone laugh?   Is it a place where you can live like the devil all week long and come to “The Place” or “The Center” on Sunday, get out early for lunch and head for the beach?  Is a great church one that attracts the most people?   What about the music?  Does it truly bring out praises to God or does it simply tickle your fancy? 

God’s holy place of worship is, according to the Word of God, a gathering of those who “testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.”

Acts of the Apostles 4:33 (nlt)

In the early church, the power of the Holy Spirit was upon them all; not trying to be relevant; not trying to make the Word a living, breathing document; no trying to be a late night comedian.  It was so holy that when a man and his wife lied about giving, God struck them dead!  I fear that too many churches today are too busy counting nickels and noses to be filled with the Holy Spirit; to testify powerfully and be a great blessing!

Advertisements

Save Me From Sniffles

HEALING! OH, YES.  WE WANT IT NOW.  NO SUFFERING, NO PROBLEMS, NO HURT.  Everything from the sniffles to devastating illnesses – “heal me Jesus!”

When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee, were his disciples ever sick or tempted?  Did they ask Jesus to protect them?  If so, there is no record of him saying to Bartholomew, “No more sniffles.” Or to James the Less, “You won’t have an ear ache any more.”  Zap!  Bingo!  Yes, they were scared from time to time. They got angry.  They were uncertain in certain situations.   I can’t find where Jesus protected them from temptation either. The key was – they left everything to follow Jesus. Talk about total commitment!

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6 (niv)

🎼🎶🎹

“Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed

To resist some temptation strong;

When for my deep grief there is no relief,

Though my tears flow all the night long?

“Does Jesus care when my way is dark

With a nameless dread and fear?

As the daylight fades into deep night shades,

Does He care enough to be near?

“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

(Frank E. Graeff)

 

What’s Your Story?

EVERYONE HAS A STORY. THERE ARE GIVERS AND THERE ARE TAKERS, the gave-uppers and the overcomers. There are those who suffered great tragedy, those who committed great sin, but through their tears and broken hearts they held on just one more hour.

God told Moses to lead, but he was a stutterer and had killed a guy.

David was just a kid when he became a hero.  But as king he let his hormones get the best of him and had the husband of the object of his affection killed.

Hosea the prophet happened to marry a prostitute.

Peter cut a guy’s ear off.

Paul went around killing Christians.

O, BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO and in the Bible to boot, you say. Nevertheless, that was their story. What’s your’s?

I’M NOT FREE TO REVEAL a name, but I know of a prince-of-a-man, friend of my dad, who was born of a prostitute under a bridge in the early 1900s before there was a system in place to take care of him. Some Christian people, members of a little clapboard church found him when he was 6 years of age, and took him to Sunday School.  He gave his heart to Christ. They nurtured him along the way. He grew up, went to a Christian college with no money, could not pay tuition, and slept on the lawn for three days. The college authorities had compassion, gave him a job as a plumber; he graduated and became a leader in his church denomination. So what is your story?

A CONFUSED MAN stumbled into our little church located on a dirt road in a rather poor part of town. We gave him a job at $5.00 per week helping to clean the church. He couldn’t read or write. He came forward to accept Christ as his personal Savior. With him, he brought his two little daughters or maybe they brought him. What a sight that was; kneeling in front with his little 7 year old daughters as they hugged him, all three with tears streaming down their cheeks. They lived in a little house built with soda pop signs picked up along the dirt road. The floors were swept clean – made not with hardwood, but dirt. The first time I visited them the little girls were sweeping the dirt floor with weeds. It was clean as a pin. I saw them grow and learn as they came to church, hair combed and clean, excited to learn more about Jesus.  That’s their story. What’s your’s?   🎼🎶🎹

“Keep holding on, just one more hour

May bring to thee the promised pow’r;

Keep holding on, thy Lord doth care,

He’ll not forget to answer prayer.

“Keep holding on, keep holding on,

The victory will soon be won;

The longest day will soon be gone,

Keep holding on, keep holding on.

“Keep holding on, Christ knows thy need,

He doth the hungry sparrows feed;

Keep holding on, He’ll hear thy cry,

Thy Lord is watching from on high.”

(William C. Poole)

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Matthew 25:23