A Newsletter of Opinion on Current Australian Christianity

The Dumbing Down of the Church

Don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying that Christians are unintelligent nor am I trying to offend people who cannot speak.

My comment this time is to draw attention to the lack of solid biblical teaching in many Churches today.

I believe some of this has been brought about by lazy pastors, helped along by sleepy pew-sitters.

A current example of what I mean can be drawn from the pages of a recent denominational news-paper – fortunately it has ceased publication.

A recent issue was all about humour – yes, that’s right – humour in the Church!  The whole issue!

I’m not knocking humour, but to emphasise the telling of silly jokes in the pulpit, or the infantile practise of “laughter therapy” in the Church is an insult to our Creator and Saviour, the apostles, the martyrs of the faith, the great evangelists and all those who understand what sort of spiritual battle we are in.

I think God does show a sense of humour that we understand – consider the design of the giraffe or the  antics of monkeys – but I am reminded that the only times when God laughs in the Bible are those times when He is pointing out the puny attempts of man to challenge Him.

Be Prepared to Give a Reason

In 1 Peter 3:15 he writes: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Unfortunately there are so many Christians who are unable to do just that.

We are not all gifted in argument or Scriptural knowledge, but there are some things we can all do if we want.

We CAN all study the Scripture and pray and discuss with friends.  We CAN be better at “giving a reason” this year than we might have been last year.

We HAVE all been made aware of our sins before God and have trusted Him for salvation.

Whether our listeners believe it or not, this is still the major reason for our faith, isn’t it?

If the conversation drifts to evolution or the Bible’s accuracy, it is helpful to at least know the basics of an answer, but the key question, the bottom line which I try to get to is a return question:

Who do YOU think Jesus Christ is?  As C.S.Lewis said, there are only 3 alternatives:

1. He was deluded (Who would really claim to be God if he wasn’t?), OR,

2.  He was a liar. But how could such a man be called good if He was really a liar?, OR,

3.  He really was Who He claimed to be – the Son of God, Lord of all.

This is the game-changer. If they admit No. 3 the onus is then on the hearer to respond – somehow!

Characteristics of the Dumb Church

To qualify as a “dumbed-down” Church you may find these characteristics:

1.  The preaching is never expository, or based on the explanation of a part of the Bible.  Instead it will be topical, allowing for a divergence from God’s intended meaning.

2.  Although a Church’s public face may endorse sound doctrine, you will never hear it taught in depth from the pulpit.

3.  Meaty doctrines that our salvation is based on (eg, justification, sanctification, propitiation) are avoided like the plague, or only handled one-sidedly.

4.  There is no provision for discussion and instruction on the gospel, doctrine or on holy Christian living, either in small groups or from the pulpit.

5.  Small groups often study a book written by some human author, rather than the one written by The Eternal Author.

6.  Emphasis on prayer meetings is often non-existent.

7.  The people have no idea of Church history and are just as ignorant of the Scriptures.  Great leaders of the faith are virtually unknown.  People have little idea of the doctrinal distinctives that formed their denomination, so they are ripe for deceit and manipulation.

Warning to Such Churches

In Hebrews the writer warns that a dumb Church is incapable of discerning between good and evil.

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” [Heb 5:13-14]

Time and time again, we can see that when a Church is not being taught correctly from the Scriptures, it gradually allows errors and heresy to creep in.

The people lose their high regard for Scripture, their desire to obey the words of Jesus, and their willingness to safeguard all that was entrusted to them.  The result is a careless attitude, a misguided attempt to be relevant, and an entertainment approach to worship.

Young people especially should be taught that their faith is solidly based on FACTS: scientific (anti-evolution), archaeological, historical and prophetic.

This used to be called the study of apologetics, and  it was held in high regard.  Now apologetics is often dismissed as too academic to be relevant to a Christian lifestyle.

If the Church continues in this vein who will doubt we are in Laodicea?

Action Required

How to approach a Church leader to discuss the problems of your Church?

1.  Get a few like-minded ones and study and pray with them before making a polite appointment to discuss the issues.

2.  Use arguments based on Scripture only, and not on current understandings or denominational trends.

3.  Ask the leaders what is their attitude to specific Scriptural commands.

4.  Do not be rude or accusing, but teach them the truth in love “with great patience and careful instruction” as in 2 Tim 4:2.

5.  Expect to be called legalistic or unloving.

6.  Expect to be ignored.  Some leaders also become very defensive and even antagonistic when challenged.

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