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Our aim is to monitor changes in the Churches to keep Christians abreast of the changes which have taken place in the Christian body, and which are still happening.
Within Christian groups problems arise when changes are made to New Testament teachings and instructions about: what is taught, what is made of the Bible and how and why we should worship.
We will look at these changes briefly in this issue, in an historical context, and hope to cover them in more depth in later issues.
In the meantime please read this one and consider for yourself if the changes that have already taken place in your Church have been for the better – to better our relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to give Him the glory.
Do You Remember 50 Years Ago?
I remember 1962 very clearly. I was 19 and thought I knew just about everything.
I did know that being a Christian was important because of the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had died to remove my sin and that of anyone who truly believed in Him.
I had learnt and believed all this from my godly parents, as well as how to live as a Christian.
I thought Church services and music were a bit old-fashioned and boring and considered the solution was to just improve the worship services into the “20th Century way” and you would have no trouble drawing in young people from the world.
Over the following years I soon realised that idea wasn’t working.
Our Church moved away to a modern language Bible version but nothing much happened.
I was pleased with the Good News NT in 1962 but it didn’t seem to make much difference to some
of our Youth Leaders who still managed to cast doubt on the stories and the doctrines taught.
The music for worship became more interesting as I was drawn into the more rhythmic and tuneful styles that I had not experienced as a child.
Even so, large numbers of young people were not drawn into the Church.
But the main thing that began to change was the interpretations our leaders were putting on the Scriptures.
These leaders were typical of the young, new breed of the 1960’s and ’70’s, who used to quote modern theologians rather than the Word of God.
They had been been trained in the Churches of Christ Theological College and were not so interested in teaching us the basics and then the meat of the gospel, but were more concerned with getting us to question the emphases our previous leaders had made clear to us.
My dad used to call this the “Modernist” influence and I was torn between the two ways.
On the one hand we had the Word of God which taught us what the gospel is and what it meant to live it out; and on the other hand we had a young man who would say “that’s not the gospel – we’ve got to
be more progressive and get involved with the community.”
I couldn’t see at the time why we couldn’t do both those things, but I found that only one way was taught in the New Testament – Paul didn’t start with the community and its needs; he started with the gospel and its demands, and then this motivated the church to preach salvation to the community.
The Situation in the Churches Now
In 1962 it would have been almost impossible to predict where most Churches would be in 2012, although A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis had their prophetic eyes open.
* Contemporary music now dominates most worship services. Doctrine-rich hymns have been replaced by often doctrine-free choruses.
* Preachers, more often than not, instead of preaching what God has to say in the Bible, are soothing us and tickling our ears with pleasant things we will agree with.
* Even those preachers who do manage to stick to the exposition of the Scriptures are often trying to find a way to mask the unpleasant and difficult aspects of the gospel and its implications.
* Needless to say, the downgrading of Scripture has been aided by the use of paraphrases like “The Message”, which can tend to trivialise and distort the real message.
Scriptural interpretations are made subject to the 21st Century way of thinking.
The chickens have come home to roost and the preaching of the real Gospel in many Churches is being relegated to history.
What Can or Should We Do?
Can we, as Christians in the pews, do anything about the deterioration of Christianity happening now? Many people have found that if they confront their leaders they are ostracised or told to find another place to worship.
I believe there are a couple of main ways:
1. Pray that God will show you a group of Christians who understand the issues involved. They may be in your Church now, or even on the internet.
2. Talk to others about the situation and determine not to be “cast in the world’s mould” but subject to the leading of the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures. Study diligently to find how far we have diverged from the teachings of the Bible.