Photo by Neil Cullan McKinlay)
Is it just me or is the contemporary church growth movement teaching the churches to become more like the world in order to attract the world?
If it's true that "culture is religion externalized" then what will happen to the churches if they start adopting the culture of those they are trying to reach in order to reach them? Aren't the people who make up the Lord's Church on earth supposed to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world"? (see eg, Matthew 5:13-14).
When the churches adopt the culture of that outside the Church instead of the other way around, then isn't this the salt losing its saltiness? Is it any wonder then why we Christians (at times such as these) get trampled underfoot by men?
Yes, the Reformers made sure that the Bible was translated into the ordinary language of the people in order to reach the people. The Westminster Confession of Faith says of the Scriptures, "...They are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner...."
For the Lord's Church to shift from having a priest with his back to the congregation mumbling words in Latin to bread and wine, to actually speaking to people in their own language and giving them a copy of the Scriptures to see if these things are so - is a real culture shift in the culture of Church. But somehow I don't think this is the same as the contemporary Church, eg, ditching the singing of the Psalms and the old hymns and getting with the program of reaching the unchurched by singing all the latest Christian ditties to techno-pop tunes in order to bring em in!
But out of what are we bringing em? And into what are we bringing em if we have become just like em so as not to offend em? Are we bringing em out of their culture and into our Christian culture? Or are we bringing Christian culture to bear on them?
What is Christian culture anyway? O, it's our religion externalized, isn't it? But what's so distinct about our religion to say, the religion of the people we in the West are trying to reach with the claims of Christ outside the doors of our churches? Well, apparently it's not to be in our use of the common language - we've not to use words like "justified," "sanctified" and "glorified" etc, (you know, the words you find used in the Bible!) And it's certainly not to be in our music and the lyrics we sing! We've to scrap anything pre-yesterday!
And, the latest thing we're being told is that we don't come to "church" on Sundays to worship God. Apparently we've had that wrong for the last two thousand years or so! We now come together (regardlss of whether it's Sunday or not) first and foremost to be edified! Ah, culture IS religion externalized! Yes, let's adopt the culture of those who don't come to church to worship God, which is to say, let's keep God at a very safe distance!
Am I being fair in my observations about the latest fad sweeping the churches in the West or am I just one of them old fuddy duddy Calvinists venting his spleen? What do you lot out there think?
Regardless, the fields out there are still white for harvest!