The church is suffer a Blue Like Jazz theology
by Pastor Lee Hemen
January 06, 2011
I have found it interesting that recently there have been a plethora of articles addressing the woes of the church today. The amazing thing is that they are truly connected.
Recently the Barna Group released a study that relates six mega themes concerning today’s Christianity. He found that: 1) The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate creating weak faith and a reliance on motivation instead. 2) Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented focusing on ourselves. 3) Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life. If it does not focus on our problems, we are not interested. 4) Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating, but it is not producing long-term involvement. When the initial thrill is gone, so is the believer. 5) The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church. Homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage are not seen as sinful. Situational ethics seem to rule the lives of believers rather than biblical morality. And finally, 6) the influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible. We are no longer the salt and light of the world. The church today has allowed itself to be deceived by false relationships.
Then we add to the above the latest Christian fad book release by the father son team of Thom and Jess Rainer, “The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation.” In it they list ways in how to get younger generations back into the church and to make Christianity relevant to them. In a recent article they listed the areas of 1) Mentoring, 2) having a Gentle Spirit, 3) Transparency and authenticity, and 4) Integrity in how to gain access to this group. These are nothing new, however, what many churches have offered instead is mentoring by emotion, offering a gentle spirit by acquiescing to political correctness, thinking they are being transparent and authentic by introducing a Jesus that is foreign to Scripture, and giving integrity by lying to them when they come through the door by not telling them the entire truth of the Christian’s responsibility. The church needs to offer more than the stick of a “Shack” heretical theological mentality. The Christian church is suffering because it has forgotten the integrity of the gospel, the often harsh truth it contains, and an unwillingness to boldly witness. Far too often the church caters to what pleases the millennial for the moment whether it is self-centered worship, non-sacrificial service or ministry, to seeking after someone who can scratch their itch with fine sounding words. God forbid we should actually teach church discipline, tithing, or sacrifice.
Now before anyone crucifies me for not totally being sold out for books like “The Shack” or “Blue Like Jazz,” I have read them both and found them totally wanting in sound biblical theology. Herein books like these camouflages the core spiritual problem of today’s church. Biblical truth is no longer in vogue nor is it fun. When Southwestern Seminary notes that “Students are arriving to graduate level work, who, though with degrees from some of the finest universities in the country, were unable to produce a viable essay,” something is grossly wrong within the Christian church they were exposed to, not just the public schools they were educated at.
Instead of the mega interest being in getting numbers through the doors for worship, perhaps the Christian church needs to repent and return to witnessing to the world about faith in Christ. It is totally unbiblical to try and witness through worship and it is backwards to the gospel which commands us to “go into all the world.” This kind of theological weak logic allows non-believers to think they can authentically worship and allows believers to concede their biblical responsibilities of sacrificial service and witnessing. We now have larger churches that contain weak Christians who only impact their communities by placing worldly bandages over the real problem. We do not see communities spiritually eternally changed by the gospel, politicians fearing the church, or bold pulpits preaching against the ungodliness of the world. Loving Jesus is more than something you feel, it is obedience to the gospel. A limp-wristed blue like jazz church will not change the world, only gain its applause.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.