Why can’t the Church be worldly? What’s wrong with being like the world so we can attract people to the love of Christ?
We hear these questions over and over from some of our friends, especially in the big Churches.
Many have changed their services so they are more “seeker-friendly” and less likely to repel anyone who may really be trying to find God.
Worldliness in the Church involves the incorporation of ideas, attitudes, actions and beliefs that are really at odds with those of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles and as described in the New Testament.
With that definition in mind we must therefore be very wary of those things the world holds dear: the reliance on money-making schemes, the use of our money, the music of this world, the entertainments valued by the world, the importance of clothing and fashion, and the idolatry of everything that diverts our minds from the Way, the Truth and the Life.
What is the point of the Bible’s opposition to worldliness?
To ensure the Church exists to bring glory to God alone.
That is the primary goal of Christ’s Church.
The Love of Money . . .
Of course we all need it to live. But does your Church seem to over-emphasise its importance?
What does the New Testament teach on tithing? Actually nothing, but 10% is often a good guide for those on a medium-type wage.
One thing is certain: despite the value placed on money by the Brian Houstons and other televangelists, Jesus actually was poor in this world’s goods, lived in simplicity and hated His Father’s house being used as a market.
So what is the Church doing in many cases?
Paying large salaries to Church staff so they can live in luxury.
Telling ordinary wage-earners that the more they give the more blessings they will get.
Acting as if God’s blessings will only fall on you as you become rich in terms of money.
Emphasising the importance of having a
new or refurbished worship centre to “reflect the grandeur of God”.
Nothing of this is found in the New Testament.
We need to know also that our own attitude to money may be partly responsible for the emphasis of our Church leaders.
We must not be selfish with the money God gives us, but on the other hand, we must not chase the dollar in order to justify a false belief that God is blessing us.
Read 1 Tim 6:9-10.
Our Appearance to the World
How do we appear to the world? There are some that say we should be indistinguishable from the world so as to blend with them and not give offense.
God doesn’t say that however. The apostle Peter says we are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.”
Since God has chosen us we should seem different to the world; would you believe it if someone called himself a priest but did not appear to be one?
I am not talking about deliberately going out of our way to dress weirdly, nor am I saying we should all wear our best suit of clothes every Sunday.
“Holy” means separate, or special. Do you think God is pleased by a careless choice of thongs and a
brief top to join His people in worship?
We must be careful not to judge from the outside appearance, for God judges the heart.
But do we always bring glory to God by attending worship in clothing that is best suited to the beach, or even a nightclub?
Men as well as women should read again 1 Timothy 2:9-10 about dressing modestly.
Music in the Churches
I was once told that “if music hadn’t changed in the church we would still be listening to Gregorian chants”.
This is a nonsense. The original Church sang “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” which, as well as being culturally acceptable, were also full of objective truth, pure doctrine and directed to God the Father and the Son.
Are the songs your Church sings both objectively and Biblically true and sung to the glory of God?
Even some of the old revered hymns don’t fit those criteria.
But worldly music tends to accentuate rhythmic dance patterns and devalues the depth and meaning of certain lyrics.
Some Church music which attempts to emulate culturally-acceptable styles actually directs the brain away from the lyrics, no matter how good they may be. The “music” is experienced as only the accompaniment, not the words.
But Jesus IS the Word.
Does this situation glorify God and His Son, the Living Word – who is to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth?
The Worldly Church of 2012
“Like any counterfeit, the best way to recognize the secular is to be familiar with the sacred. That is why dedication to God’s word is so important. The Christian church focuses on being fed out of God’s word and seeks to align itself with what it says.
The secular church allows the ways of the world to seep into the beliefs and practices of the Christian church thereby diluting the truth.
If we find something in the church that is contrary to scripture but is taught in the secular world, then that church has become, in part, secularized. The more we find from the world in the church, the more that church is secularized.”