“A church for people who don’t like church,” proclaimed a billboard I drove by every day.
Have you noticed the religious marketing campaigns? I’ve seen advertising for hip new churches that everyone would love and a slew of fun and catchy Christian church names. With thousands of choices of churches, surely everyone should be able to find “truth” that fits within his or her comfort zone.
People vs. church
Why do people dislike church? Is it because they have to dress up? Do they find churches boring and stuffy? Is it that people do not like to be told what they should or should not be doing?
What is it that many of these so-called “feel-good churches” really offer to their attendees?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with giving a modern, funky or fun look to a church in an effort to make it interesting to the younger population, but often the services are mainly about making one feel good inside.
Church vs. people
Rarely do modern churches deliver messages about controversial subjects, rebukes or corrections. Instead, messages focus on general principles. They often talk about experiences and emotions without turning to God’s Word as the source of truth.
Another theme prevalent in “feel-good” churches is that most will have an automatic one-way ticket to paradise—no matter how one behaves. Does God’s Word really teach these things?
Often modern churches just feed you the dessert, and you skip the meat and veggies of the meal.
Feeling good is a natural human desire, and there are times for joy, emotion and contentment. However, without correction, how can improvements be made? Can you build muscle without working out and feeling sore in the process? Can you grow closer to God without having some struggles along the way?
Instead of a service based on happy feelings, imagine a church leader so passionate about God’s truth that when the people blatantly dishonored God’s instructions, he started throwing things around and chasing them out of the establishment? Today we’re so concerned with making people feel comfortable, that we couldn’t even fathom such a scenario. Yet consider what Jesus Christ did when He chased the money changers out of the temple (Matthew 21:12-13)!
This obviously wouldn’t be the ideal or necessarily typical church service. But having a firm foundation in God’s Word would clearly be a stark contrast to a service that didn’t even (or ever) read from the Bible! Yet God gave us the Bible for our own good.
Seeking the truth
According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of American Christians believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone” (www.pewforum.org). As these numbers grow, spiritual mind-sets and ideas drift constantly further from the actual truth that Jesus Christ Himself taught—and from the true salvation that man can only have through Him.
For more insight on this troubling societal drift and what you can personally do about it, please read “Your Truth, My Truth or THE Truth?”
We all want to be happy. Living a life according to God will ultimately result in a good, abundant life. Justifying or ignoring our screwups makes us feel liberated and free now, but Jesus Himself told us that we are to “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, emphasis added). VT