Editorially Speaking The Modern Church: An Intellectual And Spiritual Disaster Area
The modern church is little more than an intellectual and spiritual disaster area. Adultery and divorce, epidemic in modern society, are now running rampant within its corridors. Many young members of the modern church are marrying and divorcing for all the wrong reasons. They are not choosing mates because they will help them serve God and go to heaven; instead, they marry for worldly, selfish motives. Such marriages are destined for much unhappiness and even divorce. But instead of modern preachers preaching against these things, all we hear from them are the shibboleths of moral softness.
Even though the Bible teaches that true Christians are “sojourners and pilgrims” in this world (1 Peter 2:11) whose “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), the modern church member asserts his or her “right” to personal happiness in this materialistic world as if it were a spiritual birthright from the Lord Himself. Bent on building their own personal kingdoms rather than enlarging the Lord's Kingdom, modern church members are interested in newer cars, larger homes, and nicer clothes. The once-honored Biblical virtues of sacrifice and conservation of resources have been replaced with the belief that “he who has the most toys when he dies, wins.”
Modern church members worship work, work at play, and play at worship. Consequently, “preaching as entertainment” is satisfying many in the modern church. Like those spoken of in Ezekiel 33:31-32, the modern church is enchanted with spectator-worship. “Make us laugh, make us cry, make us happy, and make us sing, but don't you ever make us think, and don't you ever ask us to repent!” In the modern church, the Bible is being twisted and molded to fit the “felt needs” and “desires” of those with “itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). To those in the modern church, discerning God's will for their lives simply means finding out what it is God has said about what they already want to do.
The idea that one should submit his or her will to the Sovereign of the universe is not popular in the modern church. Self-abasement and putting others before self have given way to looking out for “Numero Uno.” The modern church member is looking inward rather than upward. Instead of an intimate relationship with the Lord, many a modern church member conceives himself to be in sort of a limited partnership with Jesus. This enables him to continue to be preoccupied with the pursuit of “Self.” Unless he can be soothed and “massaged” with “preaching as entertainment,” then he is definitely unhappy, uncomfortable, and will probably be trying to arrange for the preacher to move or else he will be moving to a church that will be more sympathetic to his “felt needs.”
In the modern church, courageous preaching is definitely passé. First, no one wants to hear it anymore. Second, it makes one sound not just disagreeable but downright mean and cantankerous, and no one wants to sound mean and cantankerous, especially professional clergymen who know what side their material bread is buttered on.
What, then, is the remedy? Only this—the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). What this means is that true Christianity is not a system of human philosophy, or an exercise in some religious ritual, or just a code of moral ethics. It is, instead, a personal relationship with the Son of God through obedience to His Word. What this means is that apart from the way...there is no going; apart from the truth...there is no knowing; and apart from the life...there is no real living!
(All editorials are written by Allan Turner. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org )