Monday, January 31, 2011

What is Going On?

A Great Book on the
 problems facing
 the Church in America
Looking around the Church today a lot is going on; history lessons, motivational speeches, moralistic legalism, and outrageous stunts to "draw the unchurched."  A lot of it is what Michael Horton of the White Horse gang refers to as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.  And Jesus is often completely absent.

Jesus is at the center of worship.  If anything else takes center stage, then it is not a Christian worship service.  Jesus death on the cross for my sins is the heart of Christianity.  Worship is not to entertain, it is not there for self-esteem either.  When we gather together for worship, we are to lift up Jesus, and announce the forgiveness of sins.  People in Churches today are missing Jesus, because He is not preached there and His gifts are absent.  Take a look at the "churches" in the videos linked at the end of this post  - simply unbelievable. 

I have personally attended Church for years where charismatic gifts were emphasized.  I often left feeling empty - because I did not experience some awesome mind-blowing spiritual high.  I have attended Evangelical services that were very entertaining - one time Miss America showed up along with a local sports team mascot in the same service.  I exclaimed "this is better than TV," now that's entertainment! This same Church once had an end times sermon with a last days "expert."  I had already grown skeptical of the obsession with end times in the Church and determined to see how Scriptural this sermon was.  If I remember correctly there were one or two Bible verses pulled out and used - I left more skeptical than ever.  

True worship focuses on the Cross of Christ - Jesus death and resurrection for our sins.  He is lifted up as God's Word is preached, the forgiveness of sins is announced, and communion is received.  I need to hear that my sins are forgiven - I am a sinner desperately in need of forgiveness.  When I receive the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine, I know that Jesus death is for me - I'm the one he died for, not the person sitting next to me.  His blood covers my sins.  Just a tacked on altar call is not enough. Just a token mention of Jesus does not cut it.  The service revolves around Jesus and focuses on His gift of forgiveness.

I will post more on the good news of the gospel (salvation by grace alone, a gift given by God, completely apart from any works whatsoever - even faith is a gift given by God) and how this relates to a proper distinction of  law and gospel - Luther said without a proper understanding of the distinction between law and gospel the Bible is a closed book and cannot be understood.

Gene Veith's Book 
was instrumental in
pointing me toward
true worship

Here are some examples of the crazy things going on in Churches today.  If you can discern the message in these videos linked below you may need substance abuse counseling: 

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