Walking Well the Line?

Over the past several weeks I have been entrenched in thought over the correct way a church should conduct itself. My thoughts over this subject matter have more or less developed from a growing disdain of the mega-church model that litters the urban and suburban landscape of the bible belt.

In short I see the mega-church as a type of “culture light” and a “gospel light”. In other words it can be compared to a light beer from a worldly or a biblical perspective.

From a worldly perspective, there isn’t much difference between the thought life of your average mega-church attendee and those who are engrossed in popular culture. The only difference is those who are enamored with the mega-church culture put a “christian” spin on the culture and lighten up anything that is too edgy. The mega-church is “culture light”

From a biblical perspective the mega-church only presents the biblical message in so far as it doesn’t completely offend or alienate the culturally engrossed attendee. Therefore the mega-church is also a “gospel light” environment.

Most churches following this model see themselves as “walking well the line” that is between dead fundamentalism and the evils of culture. I would simply reply that the writers of the New Testament placed little concern on walking this line “well”. I would contend this was the last thing they were considering as they were being driven from cities by the tips of whips.

This is by no means a comprehensive analysis of the mega-church (as if one is possible) but these are thoughts I have on the matter.

Disagreement is encouraged if you like,

Michael

Advertisements

5 comments

  1. Hey friend!

    So it would probably take more than a blog-type conversation but I just wanted you to know at least the churches I’ve been involved in aren’t unaware of how some Christians view them- however their thought process is that they are being strategic. Basically, their role as a church is to communicate truths from the bible that are relevant to believers and nonbelievers alike (it is not the goal necessarily that the first service a nonbeliever attends will result in them knowing Christ but rather through conversations in community groups). Occasionally they do have a gospel presentation and I don’t think you would be opposed to how they present it- however it’s just not as frequent as other churches (thus why you might think it’s gospel-light).

    At the end of the day these churches believe people will come to know Jesus through their friends that invited them there (like the disciples) and/or through conversations in small groups of community that they join once they start attending. Essentially it’s hard to move someone from sleeping in on Sunday to becoming a believer, practicing their faith, and working out their faith in community. These churches create an environment where people begin to understand that the bible is real and relevant to their lives. Their goal is to get these people interested in reading their own bibles, starting to pray, and asking themselves questions. These churches create steps to get there.

    I completely understand how if you’re really passionate about the gospel being shared every Sunday that this could seem watered down. I think they’re just trying a different approach to getting people to Jesus. I don’t think either is wrong, people are very different.. with different backgrounds and in different stages of life. I think Jesus is not above using any of these churches so long as the church’s heartbeat is to give Him glory and make His name known.

    Anyway I just thought I’d throw that out there!:)

    1. Laura!

      You bring up some good points! Also, like I mentioned in the blog post I have not really come to a solid position on the subject.

      However, I do still have some disagreements with what you have stated. The first thing is that the role of the church is to proclaim all truth from the bible; not simply relevant truth. The main problem with “relevancy” is that it quickly evolves into “popularity”. The church that focuses mainly on being relevant often finds themselves pursuing that which is popular.

      Another point that I contend with is the thinking behind how unbelievers come to know Christ. Unbelievers cannot know christ without faith, faith comes through hearing the word (Romans 10). It does not matter where an unbeliever hears the word of God (street corner, pew, airplane, ect.) but it is important that the word of God is preached. Paul tells timothy to “preach the word”. This leads me into the whole idea of “a Gospel presentation”.

      No sermon should be “a Gospel presentation” because for one sermon to be “a Gospel presentation” that necessitates that other sermons are not presenting The Gospel. No sermon should not present The Gospel. The entire story line of the bible is the story of The Gospel. For a sermon to never touch upon the truths of the gospel, exposited from the scripture, is not a Christian sermon. Christianity is only Christianity in so far as it is a movement centered around The Gospel. When I say that a church is “Gospel light” it is not because they do not have enough “Gospel presentations” it is because I do not think that every sunday The Gospel is being robustly and unashamedly proclaimed from the pulpit as the New Testament commands it to be. So being “Gospel light” is not so much a matter of frequency as it is centrality.

      Finally, it is difficult to move someone from sleeping in on Sunday morning to a pew in a church. However, is it not also difficult to move someone from coffee to Christ??? I find that many times when someone comes to a church for the music and coffee they actually do come for the music and coffee. It is hard to get someone to move past what they are comfortable with, whether it is bed sheets or coffee, but the move has to be made at one point or another. Why not be forthright about it?

      All in all I appreciate most of these churches intentions. Nonetheless I sometimes fear their intentions are not informed by a robust vision of the Bible. In my opinion, and I would like to think the New Testament agrees, The message should shape the person and not the other way around.

      Thank you so much for commenting Laura it means a lot that this is something that interests you! You have forced me to sharpen my thoughts on my position. I hope that the same can be said for you having now read my thoughts!

      Grace and Peace

      Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s