Fish inspector?

I was away from the Lord for many years, but when I returned I just assumedfi the spiritual state of things in the world was somewhat the same. I’ve been finding out that I assumed wrong. Observers say we’re now in the “post-modern” era where truth is relative and everyone’s viewpoint is equally valid. Correct faith and doctrine are turning into whatever works for you. They say the Millennials (people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) and their children have a rapidly declining regard for spiritual matters. Only about one-half of Millennials believe strongly in God and only 40% say religion is very important in their lives (see here). Wow! Things sure have changed since I accepted Christ way back in 1983.

Millennials generally don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word. They don’t believe in sin and eternal judgement. They don’t believe Jesus is God the Son who came to this world to die for our sins. They don’t believe faith in Jesus is the only way to Heaven. For the majority of Millennials, spirituality is a vague, mystical concept that’s unique for each individual, if they believe in any form of spirituality at all. Unfortunately, this all goes for a lot of the Generation Xers as well.

So how do we reach these young, lost people, who don’t have the first clue about sin or Christ, and how do we “do” church to attract them? There are many who say the old ways no longer work. Christian church worship used to be singing some hymns in praise to the Lord and then listening to Holy Spirit-empowered preaching for instruction and admonishment. But marketers say old-fashioned hymns and heavy-duty Bible preaching don’t appeal to the sound-bite, video-game-driven Millennials so church service has become an hour of entertainment with the latest multi-media, concert lighting, and rather shallow messages that challenge or offend no one.

Not just individual churches but Christianity in general is following down this path. One person sent me a comment a couple of months ago complaining that I was too hung up on doctrine. He advised that we should just spread the Gospel/gospel and not be “fish inspectors.” But that begs the question, What is the Gospel? I get the impression that, for many these days, the Gospel is just a big, emotional, hands-uplifted, lovin’ Jesus, warm and fuzzy!

No, I don’t desire to be a fish inspector but I will uphold the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE. Yes, I know; doctrine doesn’t save, Jesus saves. No one was ever saved by being a theologian. But if anyone believes they need to merit any part of their salvation in addition to the finished work of Christ, they’re lost. Period. Christians have no plea before a Holy God other than the perfect, imputed righteousness of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Once we accept Christ and become God’s children we need to follow Him and obey Him with good works but no one can possibly obey their way to salvation.

I realize I’m getting to be an old fuddy-duddy at the age of 59 and I’ll definitely concede the old methods need to be updated “a bit,” but the seeker/purpose-driven churches are following a market-driven, consumer model instead of Christ to such an extent that anyone who upholds the Gospel of grace and reaches out to those who follow a gospel of works is now labeled a “fish inspector.”

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8-9

Postscript: I guess I wrote on this topic today because I’m currently reading and enjoying a biting critique of the seeker/purpose-driven, and emergent churches titled, “The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Post-Modern World,” by David F. Wells. Great stuff! Review to follow down the road.

 

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4 thoughts on “Fish inspector?

  1. Old fuddy duddy??..59?? You’re still young!!
    The church I attend teaches the Word as it is written..to old..middle aged and young..my pastors sugar coat nothing. We are smack dab in the heart of our city..in a not so savory neighborhood but that’s where God placed my pastors in order to revive His word amongst His people who need His word..the truth..the way..the life..
    I’m happy to say our youth in the church are full of faith..their parents led by pastor who is led by God…lead them as well.. I love Desatar Ministry! 😊
    Again..59 is not old.. lol!

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  2. Thanks, Andi, but young men now hold the door for me and call me sir! That’s always a dead giveaway!
    I’m very happy for you that the Lord has led you to a church you love that’s on fire for God and preaches the Word with no compromising. That’s such a HUGE blessing. We attended a small church for over a year but we stayed too long; multiple issues. We’ve been going to a mega church the last three months; great preaching but it doesn’t feel like “home.” It leans a bit towards the theatrics I mentioned in the post. With the Lord’s leading we may try a smaller, more “old-fashioned” church this Sunday. Gotta go. Time for my Geritol. LOL.

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  3. You’re most definitely young, Tom, no matter how you slice it! While I do believe age is a state of mind I just can’t help but think how long people lived b4 the flood!

    But truth be told, both my parents passed away at the age of 59.
    59 IS young!

    I’ve been at “seeker” churches off /on for 7-8 yrs. I grew up Lutheran. I’m getting to the point where I need that focus again. I WANT the liturgy/hymns/choir. The glamour of flash & a “concert like” atmosphere is starting to dull…
    And I did go visit a smaller church last week: An ELCA. But I was floored by part of it’s Apostles Creed. Instead of believing in a Holy “Apostolic” church…they paid tribute to the holy catholic church…
    – Kenzel

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  4. Thanks, Kenzel. Yup, modern medicine is widening the average lifespan but I’m starting to feel age creeping into my bones. One day at a time for the Lord!

    I came out Catholicism – highly ritualized, obviously – accepted Christ and attended an independent Baptist church where worship was pretty simple and straightforward. Hymns were sung prayerfully and with conviction. The preaching was often powerful but too often digressed into politics and the pastor’s pet sins. The mega-church we now attend has baptistic roots and the preaching is great but it also leans towards the seeker model in some respects with a VERY heavy emphasis on multi-media, lightshows, Christian rock (you can’t hear the congregation singing above the din), etc. We watch Charles Stanley every week and I like that worship style (but can do without the choir and the choir robes). My wife really enjoys the mega-church and I know our sons would like it more than a “traditional” church if they ever decided to attend with us. Well, the Lord has placed his children in a wide-variety of traditions and worship styles. I trust the Lord will lead you and I to a place we can hear the Word preached without compromise and really enjoy worshipping with others and serving Him. Maybe the Lord will have my wife and I stay at the mega church. As He leads.

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