Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Changes

I tend to be wary of ideas that are presented as "new." This especially applies in a church setting, where, it seems, History repeats itself.

Perhaps it wouldn't annoy me so much if they didn't call it "new."

Sometimes it seems that new projects and ideas and approaches to ministry simply distract us from the main thing, our relationship with God.

There are so many "movements" that come and go. New forms of "praise and worship." New ways to evangelize. New ways to "do church." New ways to pursue "purity." Do any of them have lasting effects?

In Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape instructs Wormwood on how to entice Christians through dissatisfaction with old things and a thirst for constant change.

"The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart-an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship...Now, just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty.(116)"

"The Enemy[*] loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions: Is it righteous? Is it prudent? Is it possible? Now, if we can keep men asking: 'Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?' they will neglect the relevant questions. And the questions they do ask are, of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them to make. (118)"

To be fair, an obsession with Old things can be damaging as well, in the case of things that aren't worth holding on to.


*God

7 comments:

  1. I agree completely! I am wondering if you are thinking of anything in particular.

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  2. Here's the problem the way I see it. (Hi, everyone, by the way). The problem is the Christian faith has been hijacked by various denominations. To be honest with you 99.9% of today's denominations are apostate that mostly care to only proclaim themselves in everything they do - whether it is theology, missions or music.

    The influential Christian leaders that could have changed the church for the better, were and are selfish brats that only cared and care about themselves. It includes the most revered people of the past and the present. From Augustine to Billy Graham. Liars, liars, liars. It's as if they have never read the book of 2 Corinthians. Paul there is dealing with the issues of who is and is not the true apostles and followers of Jesus.

    Anyway, you wondered, Liz, why they do not come. Because people smell deceit from a distance. They know when what is said and what is lived out contradict each other.

    The apostate churches of today whether they are Baptist, Pentecostal, Mennonite, Calvary Chapel, etc., should realize that they are living out the deceit of the one who can easily turn himself into an angel of light.

    That's not my notion. It's Apostle Paul's. We should stop being blind to what we are taught Sunday after Sunday at any given church and run from there.

    I'd rather have 2 believers praying together without a church than a congregation of a thousand blind worshippers.

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  3. Just to clarify, I'm thinking more of an intellectual/ philosophical approach than general habits. New seating arrangement, new Sunday school curriculum...it might be unsettling the first day, but not earth-shaking. Sometimes it's good to add something fresh. BUT when it's accompanied by some kind of theory or vision statement, I start to feel uncomfortable.

    I'll answer comments later.

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  4. Annie, I'm not sure what prompted me to write it at the moment. It's not true of any church I'm a part of or that I have contact with. I guess what I mean is messages like "Let's all go out and just be a light and love people," and everyone is like "Oooooh, good idea" and it becomes the cool thing to do, while I'm thinking 1) Jesus thought of it, he didn't need us to reinvent it, and 2) let's actually go out and do it instead of talking about it.

    Sorry to be so vague!

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  5. Vitali, I know what you mean about people not being "fooled" (if that's what you mean). But why would people come to me and ask about my church and then not come? Is it because I'm a hypocrite?

    Also, people often come to faith because of someone witnessing to them. Are you saying that the witness that brought someone to faith cannot stand against the weaker witnesses out there?

    I disagree that the teaching of "any given church" is deceptive, although you may be right that the existence of denominations is closely tied to some of the problems.

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  6. Liz, if you look at 2 Corinth. you will find that what is amazing there is nowhere Paul says: "Oh, well, those false apostle, well as long as they bring people to the Lord, I am fine with it..."

    Liz, remember, at one point, I said to one of your poster: "If money is taken away from you and other missionaries, what will you be able to accomplish? Are you still going to be as fervent for the Lord as you are now, when everything is going well with you? What if you have no money to pay your bills? Are you still going to 'preach the gospel' as you have before?"

    Paul says in 2 Corinth. that he worked with his own hands so that no one could bring anything against him. My contention with the state of the Christian church is, we have made the church to function like a business. Where in the Bible do we find that we have to have paid pastors? And didn't the Lord say that those who want to be first should be servants to all?

    When you are a servant you do not have much money or much of anything. We think that the preachers, evangelists, pastors who have a good annual income, and some of them have built mansions to themselves, are somehow the leaders of our times and deserve to have the prosperity. No, they are not. The American/European economy has helped them to become prosperous, not the Lord. They are the leaders of the fools who care less about what the Bible really says. If you think I am wrong, watch TBN or other heretical "christian" programs.

    All I am saying is this. Jesus said clearly, "You cannot serve both God and money". He said this, "Unless you humble yourselves and become like little children, you will never see the kingdom of God." He also said that those who want to be first should become the servants to all. That it simply means is that they should, maybe, pay the bills of that mother down the street who has no money to pay her bills. Or preach the gospel to those who will NEVER be able to repay them. It means that they need to start praying again and reading the Bible in humility as they used to when they first believed.

    To me a Christian who feeds the hungry on a reg. basis or who pays bills for someone who can't is a greater testimony of God's love than someone who preaches the Gospel to a crowd of people and then retreat to his mansions to write a new book. Bah!

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  7. Vitali, I think you are responding more to the "Why don't they come" post than "Changes." If so, please repost your last comment so that the conversations don't get mixed up.

    Thanks!

    Also, I wasn't really referring to missionary activity here, more evangelism in general. But if you'd like, I could write something about missionaries in a separate post.

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