Secularization of the Church

As a disclaimer, I realize that this post is likely to offend some of the people on my "friends list". However; I am prepared to embrace a decrease of "friends" because I believe the BIBLE. 

Let me begin by explaining something that happened to my daughter a couple of weeks ago. My wonderful baby girl Anais received an invitation to attend a special Wednesday night youth service at one of our local churches called "Way-Back Wednesday" She of course accepted the invitation and went dressed as one of her favorite 80's characters. Upon entering the church facilities, she told me that it was very dark. There were lights on the stage that resembled that of a Hollywood production set and there was a light show. She said that in the audience you could barely make out faces and she continually had a problem discerning whether she was standing with her friends or with someone she didn't know. All of this may seem a bit odd at a church service, but the real oddity began at the opening of the service. This is where I am sorry, but I cannot approve of their mindset. Things started with music of course. The worship leader asked the congregation if they were ready to ride the "Crazy Train", to which my daughter's friend turned to her and said, "This is going to be exactly what you think it is". Then my daughter stood in horror and amazement as from the speakers of one of the largest churches in Cleveland came Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train". Thankfully my daughter knew she was out of place and did not wish to remain in the "service". She will never attend there again, not by my request, but by her choice. 

I felt the need to address this issue by writing an email to the church about the event. I discussed in a very calm and unoffensive manner what I felt was an inappropriate choice in music for a church gathering. So far, I have received no correspondence. This is concerning to me because of the obvious no-concern attitude from one of the largest churches in our hometown. 

So where did we go wrong?

First, look at where we stand. We are in Cleveland, TN - the middle of the so-called Bible-belt, which is also the headquarters of the Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy. If you would have been standing in that very church 30 years ago you would have found members with their hair up in buns, no jewelry or makeup, and all the ladies would have been in dresses. 90% of the gentlemen would have worn 3 piece suits with ties and patten-leather shoes. Now let's talk about where we are, not physically, but socially in today's church. We now enter churches that have a come as you are mentality that has set up a platform of expectation with far less inferior moral values, all in the name of contemporary worship. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those who would take a stand and bicker over something as petty as whether a woman should wear pants to church. That is a topic for a later date and it is first and foremost YOUR conviction, not mine you should worry about. There is however; a standard that we should strive to uphold in our churches and unfortunately those standards are sinking rapidly into the abyss of history. 

So, what does the Bible say about how we should worship?

Jesus said: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:24 KJV 

One of the most important and pertinent words to study here is the word TRUTH. So how do we worship Him in truth? I'm so glad you asked. 

Thus, saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16 KJV 

You see, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did back then, He can still do today. The go-to argument for most sympathetic to the contemporary mindset is that our contemporary music is what is drawing youth to the church or more people come to the church if you have contemporary services. If you are drawn by anything other than Christ then you are probably motivated by the wrong thing.

Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The thing is that God is the same today as He was back then. Fact is that He could still send conviction through the worship music that they had back in the Bible days. God can use absolutely anything He wants to in able to minister to the lost, but Ozzy Osborne and the Crazy Train may be a bit of a stretch. The argument is this; God can still use traditional music to convict a young heart. He is still the same. He has not changed. We have. We have allowed our churches to be filled with worldly examples rather than Godly examples. 

This is not a bitter diatribe about how a certain style of music is tearing our churches apart and sending people to hell.

It is, however: a heartfelt belief in what God has said would happen in His word about the last days, and the Devil has used the guise of contemporary worship and the contemporary mindset to fulfill this. You see the music is not the only thing that has changed, because the pastors of these churches are now preparing their messages and tip-toeing around what they believe will offend their new-found larger crowd. 

Friends, you can't have your cake and eat it too. A line from one of my favorite Barry McDonald songs says: You can't hang on to Jesus and hold the Devil's hand. The world has infiltrated our churches and we don't even realize the magnitude or the significance of this bombardment. We have ushered aside the beliefs and the standards that our parents and grandparents have abided by for years, pushed them under the rug and disregarded these morals as "old hat". The secularization of the church has caused its members to see and believe in an alternate reality in our church services. We have mistaken entertainment for spiritual movement. We use lighting and effects to trick our minds into believing that we have had a spiritual experience. We have replaced old fashioned conviction with a slap on the back and a handshake with an underdressed loosely termed Christian counselor who tells us everything is alright because Jesus loves us and He would never send us to hell. They never preach against sin, they don't even try to avoid it because we are under grace and not law. Folks Jesus' blood covered all the sins the world could ever commit and then some, but what a shame it is to trample on His sacrifice. 

You can call it secularization, you can call it contemporary services, modern services or any other whimsical sounding names, but let's just call it what it is. Simply put; it’s a shiny nice sounding name for the Devil's work. 

For hundreds of years our local churches and synagogues have been the pillar of which society has rested upon and they have been the anchor of morals in our society. In earlier years, even the rock & roll music scene was somewhat limited by the example that the church set forth because the church also set forth the expectations of the norm for society. Society will inevitably follow fairly closely to the limitations of the church. Even if there is a small number that deviates greatly from the norm, most of society has always adhered for the most part to the example of the church. But look at what we have today as an example. The morals in our churches are now more commonly dictated by outside influence than by the Word of God. Our church platforms are looking more and more like the stages of the same secular acts that once were somewhat controlled by the church's limitations, but now the tables have turned and our churches are now taking notes from their favorite rock stars. Somehow, I don't believe that Jesus intended it to be this way. As a matter of fact, Jesus said: 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you " Matthew 6:33 KJV 

This means that we should be constantly spiritually minded. The world should be the furthest thing from our minds. Unfortunately, we would rather adhere to the world's interests instead of listening to what thus sayeth the Lord 

But in the last days the Bible says: 

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:2-7 KJV 

These are those last days my friend. Make no mistake about it. It is time for the true Christians to take a stand for what is right and to once again rebuke what is wrong. If the Bible says it's right, then it's right. If the Bible says it's wrong, then it's wrong. I for one am tired of being told that my beliefs, values, morals and principles are wrong and I should repress them and keep them silent. I am tired of seeing the cross trampled upon and our houses of worship being turned into social clubs. I am tired of hearing how much God loves me, but not hearing how much God hates the sin in my life. I am tired of people playing church and using church as leverage for their financial and business endeavors. 

I'm tired of seeing just church members and I want to see Christ worshippers. Lastly, I am tired of going to churches and wondering if it is somewhere where the Holy Spirit is welcome and liberty is given to worshippers. 

Christians, it's time to take a stand for the right. It's time to stop playing church and time to be about the Father's business. If you attend one such church my advice to you would be to pray for God's direction in your life. Pray that He would reveal to you what TRUE worship looks and feels like. It is not hollow, it's not something that you dread or fear. It is something that you as a Christian should deeply desire. It is not like the mindset of some of these modern worship centers where their slogan reads "You'll never even know you were at church". I'm sorry, but I want to feel like I have been to church, there's no other feeling like it. 

God bless you all.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Epperson

Meadow Lane Ministries

I would welcome your thoughts on this subject. Please leave a comment below.

 

1 comment

  • Glenna Gay

    Glenna Gay

    God Bless you Jeremy, you speak the truth !Love you an your family !

    God Bless you Jeremy, you speak the truth !Love you an your family !

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