Secularism/Modernity

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Secularism/Modernity

Post by Jflo » Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:59 pm

I've been reading a book by David Wells (not the pitcher) entitled "No Place For Truth," and it speaks of the way secularism and modernity are creeping into the church, causing all manor of malities. David sited a small town in Mass that is outside of Boston that first introduced secularism by building a town hall accross from the church, taking away from the centrality of the church in every facet of life.

One major thing I believe is that the church is continually changing and lowering its standards in an effort to be more 'evangelical' ... (ie. 'contemporary' worship services, "seeker sensitive" services, etc.) What I see is happening is that the lines between the church and the world are becoming so blurred that it's hard to tell which is which anymore.

Jesus said that the world will hate us if we follow him. We will be persecuted. Is any of that happening in the U.S.? Does the word Christian mean anything anymore?

My point is that watered down truth isn't really truth at all. The Gospel is meant to be offensive. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit. We should be in the business of bringing dead people to life, not putting them on life support in hopes they will come back to life. Preach the unadulterated Gospel and let God do the resurrecting.

Let me know what you think.

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Re: Secularism/Modernity

Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:00 pm

Jflo wrote:I've been reading a book by David Wells (not the pitcher) entitled "No Place For Truth," and it speaks of the way secularism and modernity are creeping into the church, causing all manor of malities. David sited a small town in Mass that is outside of Boston that first introduced secularism by building a town hall accross from the church, taking away from the centrality of the church in every facet of life.

One major thing I believe is that the church is continually changing and lowering its standards in an effort to be more 'evangelical' ... (ie. 'contemporary' worship services, "seeker sensitive" services, etc.) What I see is happening is that the lines between the church and the world are becoming so blurred that it's hard to tell which is which anymore.

Jesus said that the world will hate us if we follow him. We will be persecuted. Is any of that happening in the U.S.? Does the word Christian mean anything anymore?

My point is that watered down truth isn't really truth at all. The Gospel is meant to be offensive. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit. We should be in the business of bringing dead people to life, not putting them on life support in hopes they will come back to life. Preach the unadulterated Gospel and let God do the resurrecting.

Let me know what you think.
What church are you a part of, Jflo?

On your post, I would agree that the Gospel is meant to be offensive - but that is never an excuse for its proponents to be offensive. That resonate at all?
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Re: Secularism/Modernity

Post by Jflo » Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:30 pm

PipeAndPint wrote:
Jflo wrote:I've been reading a book by David Wells (not the pitcher) entitled "No Place For Truth," and it speaks of the way secularism and modernity are creeping into the church, causing all manor of malities. David sited a small town in Mass that is outside of Boston that first introduced secularism by building a town hall accross from the church, taking away from the centrality of the church in every facet of life.

One major thing I believe is that the church is continually changing and lowering its standards in an effort to be more 'evangelical' ... (ie. 'contemporary' worship services, "seeker sensitive" services, etc.) What I see is happening is that the lines between the church and the world are becoming so blurred that it's hard to tell which is which anymore.

Jesus said that the world will hate us if we follow him. We will be persecuted. Is any of that happening in the U.S.? Does the word Christian mean anything anymore?

My point is that watered down truth isn't really truth at all. The Gospel is meant to be offensive. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit. We should be in the business of bringing dead people to life, not putting them on life support in hopes they will come back to life. Preach the unadulterated Gospel and let God do the resurrecting.

Let me know what you think.
What church are you a part of, Jflo?

On your post, I would agree that the Gospel is meant to be offensive - but that is never an excuse for its proponents to be offensive. That resonate at all?
I attend Redeemer Presbyterian (PCA). I think from what I wrote, that one could infer that the proponant to be as loving as possible. By nature, the gospel is love, being that out of love, Christ died for us, saving us from God's justice.

What I was simply saying is that the Gospel should be watered down for no one. Jesus didn't pull any punches when he encountered the Pharisees, however, he was also loving and accepting to the woman at the well.

I think that in early american arminianism(and then, dispensationalism), people were so worried about causing a weaker brother to stumble, that the weaker brother's theology has taken over, thus paving the way for what I mentioned in the previous post. You can preach the true Gospel without beating someone over the head with it.

What church do you attend PandP?

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Post by Odysseus » Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:21 pm

Greetings Jflo!

I have some questions for you:

1) What do you mean by the word 'gospel'? That is, how do you define the 'gospel'?
2) What 'world' 'hated' Jesus? What do you suppose he meant by using the term 'world'?
3) How do you take the eye witness accounts of Jesus befriending the 'world'? That is, having table fellowship with sinners? Being seen as a 'glutten and drunkard'? As being one who hangs out with 'sinners' and whores and the dregs of society?

Thank you in advance for such a great conversation!
Peace be with you.

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Post by Jflo » Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:20 pm

Odysseus wrote:Greetings Jflo!

I have some questions for you:

1) What do you mean by the word 'gospel'? That is, how do you define the 'gospel'?
2) What 'world' 'hated' Jesus? What do you suppose he meant by using the term 'world'?
3) How do you take the eye witness accounts of Jesus befriending the 'world'? That is, having table fellowship with sinners? Being seen as a 'glutten and drunkard'? As being one who hangs out with 'sinners' and whores and the dregs of society?

Thank you in advance for such a great conversation!
Wow! those are some loaded questions!

I think I would define the word 'gospel' in the Bible as the 'good news'. We were dead in our sin, but Christ made us alive. Romans 8:1-. Also there are no exceptions into heaven (I am the way, the truth, and the life...).

Jesus said in John 15 when He was talking with the disciples that the 'world' would hate them just as it hated Him. (15:18 and following) This 'world' I believe is what we would refer to as the unregenerate. "Men loved darkness rather than light..."

Just as the eye witnesses (pharisees) stated, that he was a friend of tax collectors, adulterers, sinners. He said that it is the sick that need a physician. And He knew that they wouldn't understand anyway(the natural man).

Why did you ask? I figured you would already know what my explanations would be. Tell me what your answers to these questions would be.

My purpose for starting this topic is to make you think about where you are in your relationship with God. Is it alive? Are we seeing the world through the lens of scripture? We have become too comfortable, and comfort becomes complacency. Are we losing sight of what the church is about (salt and light)? We should influence the culture, not let the culture influence us. This is what the book of Jude is all about. The creeping in of ideas and teachings that undermined the church.

Schaffer said, “I believe that pluralistic secularism, in the long run, is a more deadly poison than straightforward persecution”

Augustine said, "If you believe what you like of the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, it is yourself."

I believe we are in need of a new reformation. The stripping away of humanistic ideologies, and getting back to the nuts and bolts of scripture.

Hope this helps to clear things up! :wink:

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Post by Odysseus » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:09 pm

Jflo wrote:Wow! those are some loaded questions!

I think I would define the word 'gospel' in the Bible as the 'good news'. We were dead in our sin, but Christ made us alive. Romans 8:1-. Also there are no exceptions into heaven (I am the way, the truth, and the life...).
The 'gospel' in the NT had to do with at least two things: First, from Isaiah 52, 'the God of Israel reigns' and that of the Roman occupation; and I need to spell this out a bit. In the first century, when a new Emperor was enthroned, the heralds of said Emperor went about speaking 'good news'. They would say something to the effect, 'Tiberius is now Emperor. He is the Son of God (because his father had been deified). He is the Lord of the world. He is the Saviour of the world. Now get down on your knees and pay homage and pay your bloody taxes'. The 'good news' of Jesus was of that sort. It was about something that happened in history. Something that happened to Jesus of Nazareth. Certainly it was about personal salvation but it was about the Kingdom of God (YHWH reigning over the whole world). It was about allegance to the worlds true King of which Caesar was the parody.
Jesus said in John 15 when He was talking with the disciples that the 'world' would hate them just as it hated Him. (15:18 and following) This 'world' I believe is what we would refer to as the unregenerate. "Men loved darkness rather than light..."
Fair enough. However, the unbelieving 'world' was made up, primarily, of the 'elect' in Jesus day. We see this again and again in the Gospels as well as Acts. Too many times, the 'world' was the religious people of the first century; i.e., the Jews. So, again, I ask (with much trepidation) who would you consider the 'world' today -- the 'church' or society?
Just as the eye witnesses (pharisees) stated, that he was a friend of tax collectors, adulterers, sinners. He said that it is the sick that need a physician. And He knew that they wouldn't understand anyway(the natural man).
But isn't the 'natural man' in your example the 'elect'? Aren't they the ones trying to keep the laws of God? Aren't they the 'religious' people of Jesus' day? In other words, Jesus seemed to be hanging around all the wrong people. The 'chosen' seem to be saying, 'If you really are the Messiah, why are you hanging out (and becoming friends with; and accepting them into the family of God without going through the 'proper' means) the wrong crowd?' They were saying, in essence, 'You can't be the Messiah because of the company you keep.' Likewise, are we to only befriend 'church folk'?
Why did you ask? I figured you would already know what my explanations would be. Tell me what your answers to these questions would be.
I hope I have done so.
My purpose for starting this topic is to make you think about where you are in your relationship with God. Is it alive? Are we seeing the world through the lens of scripture? We have become too comfortable, and comfort becomes complacency. Are we losing sight of what the church is about (salt and light)? We should influence the culture, not let the culture influence us. This is what the book of Jude is all about. The creeping in of ideas and teachings that undermined the church.
First off, there is nothing inherantly wrong with the culture. Sure, secular society has taken a lot of wrong turns but the church has done its fair share as well. So before we start looking at the speck in their eye we should take a good hard look at the telephone pole in our own. What we should be doing is (for the lack of a better term) 'baptising' the good and Godly parts of secular society. That is exactly what St Paul did (as well as Jesus) when he used the terms 'Lord', 'Saviour', 'Gospel', etc.
Schaffer said, “I believe that pluralistic secularism, in the long run, is a more deadly poison than straightforward persecution”
To this I most certainly agree. You should read my blog. I have been saying for quite some time now that the Western Church has adopted a platonic gnostisim that is rubish at least and dangerously deadly at best.
Augustine said, "If you believe what you like of the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, it is yourself."

I believe we are in need of a new reformation. The stripping away of humanistic ideologies, and getting back to the nuts and bolts of scripture.

Hope this helps to clear things up! :wink:
And, in turn, I hope my answers helped the discussion as well.
Peace be with you.

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Re: Secularism/Modernity

Post by Hauser » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:27 am

Jflo wrote:One major thing I believe is that the church is continually changing and lowering its standards in an effort to be more 'evangelical' ... (ie. 'contemporary' worship services, "seeker sensitive" services, etc.) What I see is happening is that the lines between the church and the world are becoming so blurred that it's hard to tell which is which anymore.
I have a hard time seeing contemporary worship and seeker sensitive services as being a lower standard. I guess I'd have to ask what you consider the standard to be. Our presby church has both a traditional service and a contemporary service and I wouldn't call one a higher standard than the other.

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Re: Secularism/Modernity

Post by PipeAndPint » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:10 am

Jflo wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
Jflo wrote:I've been reading a book by David Wells (not the pitcher) entitled "No Place For Truth," and it speaks of the way secularism and modernity are creeping into the church, causing all manor of malities. David sited a small town in Mass that is outside of Boston that first introduced secularism by building a town hall accross from the church, taking away from the centrality of the church in every facet of life.

One major thing I believe is that the church is continually changing and lowering its standards in an effort to be more 'evangelical' ... (ie. 'contemporary' worship services, "seeker sensitive" services, etc.) What I see is happening is that the lines between the church and the world are becoming so blurred that it's hard to tell which is which anymore.

Jesus said that the world will hate us if we follow him. We will be persecuted. Is any of that happening in the U.S.? Does the word Christian mean anything anymore?

My point is that watered down truth isn't really truth at all. The Gospel is meant to be offensive. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit. We should be in the business of bringing dead people to life, not putting them on life support in hopes they will come back to life. Preach the unadulterated Gospel and let God do the resurrecting.

Let me know what you think.
What church are you a part of, Jflo?

On your post, I would agree that the Gospel is meant to be offensive - but that is never an excuse for its proponents to be offensive. That resonate at all?
I attend Redeemer Presbyterian (PCA). I think from what I wrote, that one could infer that the proponant to be as loving as possible. By nature, the gospel is love, being that out of love, Christ died for us, saving us from God's justice.

What I was simply saying is that the Gospel should be watered down for no one. Jesus didn't pull any punches when he encountered the Pharisees, however, he was also loving and accepting to the woman at the well.

I think that in early american arminianism(and then, dispensationalism), people were so worried about causing a weaker brother to stumble, that the weaker brother's theology has taken over, thus paving the way for what I mentioned in the previous post. You can preach the true Gospel without beating someone over the head with it.

What church do you attend PandP?
I am a member of Westminster Presbyterian (OPC) in Hollidaysburg, PA. Our pastor for 30 years has been Mark Brown. Our church website is http://www.hollidaysburgopc.org. With a brief hiatus when I lived in another town, I have been a member there for almost 26 years (in other words, all my life).

It is interesting to see how the Lord was gentle with "sinners", and yet harsh with the Pharisees. I'm not sure how to respond to what you're saying, though. I think a Reformed view of God & the Gospel is very important, and yet I'm coming to a place where seeing fellow Reformed brethren jumping all over Arminians or Dispensationalists just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Being in the midst of a spiritual war - with an Enemy more vicious than Hitler, perpetrating crimes worse than the Holocaust - should fighting amongst ourselves & name-calling really be - to borrow a well-worn phrase from presbytery meetings - the "order of the day"?

Just food for thought, I suppose. It was not that long ago where I would have been right there with you - but semper reformanda, eh?
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Post by Skip » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:21 am

Well, I missed the answer to my question while going through the thread, so I'll reiterate something that's already been asked:

Please explain how contemporary worship services are either a change or lowering of standards?

When you answer the question, be very concise with your definitions of "contemporary", "worship", "change", "lowering" and "standards".

As background, I spend most weekends as a worship musician playing a little traditional and a lot contemporary. I don't consider any standards to have been lowered; if anything we're raising the bar.
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Post by Hauser » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:13 am

Skip wrote:Well, I missed the answer to my question while going through the thread, so I'll reiterate something that's already been asked:

Please explain how contemporary worship services are either a change or lowering of standards?

When you answer the question, be very concise with your definitions of "contemporary", "worship", "change", "lowering" and "standards".
I'd ask the same of "seeker sensitive" services. Perhaps I missed the part in the bible where Jesus required people to know the secret handshake before being allowed to listen to him speak?

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Post by adauria » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:48 am

Hi JFlo,

I understand exactly what you mean. It needs to be balanced, but, yeah, there is definitely a propensity for some churches and believers to be so seeker sensitive that the meaning of the Gospel is lost. If you have a personal claiming to be a believer, and they don't understand the basics of what they are saved from (sin) and how they are saved (grace through faith), then something is wrong here.

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Post by PipeAndPint » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:59 pm

Perhaps what we need are some clear delineations of what is understood as making a church "seeker-sensitive". If a church uses contemporary music in worship, is it SS? If it uses PowerPoint presentations? Or is SS-ness based more on the content of the preaching? JFlo, if you could spell out what you mean here, that might help.
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Post by Jflo » Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:27 pm

Again, I merely wanted to get a thread going to ruffle a few feathers, get us thinking about the state that the church is in.

When I mentioned Contemporary worship ( I used together), I was using them as generic terms for elements that have taken away from complete focus on Christ in a typical church service (performance -based worship). Believe me. It is strange to say that, because I am a professional drummer, so, given my background, it should be the exact opposite.
One sign I saw when driving home from church last week was an advertisment that read, "Our Worship Rocks!" That is what I am referencing. That brings me to seeker sensitive services.

Seeker -sensitive is a term that I used for a service to be milk only, not growth oriented, geared just for 'seekers'. Do you feel like you are really growing in your church? or just maintaining? Trying to raise church attendance?

I will go back to secularism and modernity. For this I will use a passage from the book that I referenced in the original post.

"These factors (secularism/modernity) are experienced by all in culture, Christian and non-Christian alike. They have generated enormous power in reshaping the inner psyche of both believers and unbelievers. And precisely because modernization has created an external world in which unbelief seems normal, it has at the same time created an external world in which Christian faith is alien. It is the inability to resist this oddness that is now working havoc on the Christian mind. The Christian mind in the midst of modernity is like the proverbial frog in the pot beneath which a fire has been kindled. Because the water temperature rises slowly, the frog remains unaware of the danger until it is too late. In the same way, the Church often seems to be blithely unaware of the peril that now surrounds it."

This is what I fear is the plight of the western church. In other words, I believe the church is in need of reformation.

I obviously didn't think everyone would agree with me. And that is perfectly fine. This is just my view. My 2 cents!

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Post by Odysseus » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:24 am

Jflo,

Let's try an experiment: What is the final destination of the believer?
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Post by Zed » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:32 am

I was a member of a congregation that split. It was traditional vs. contemporary in the worship service. I am sure I was about 18 at the time. The youth minister and the preacher both wanted to go contemporary. The majority of the elders wanted to remain traditional. The remaining one or two (can’t remember for sure) wanted to go contemporary. For about a year there was much fighting and the end result was a 3 way split. The weak lost their way because of it. We (my family) left before it happened. My dad was very concerned that we were no longer able to worship and give praise to the Lord in such an environment.

About 7 years later two of the three groups came together to worship and now as we speak there is another split. For the same reasons, mostly the same people.

Having been an Army Brat I have traveled and lived in many places. I have worshiped with many congregations. Both denominational and non. Both conservative and liberal. Both contemporary and traditional. I have been to hard set traditional worship services and hoopla rock concert worship services. And most everything in between.

There is one thing that many people don’t realize is that a lot of what we now call traditional was at one time contemporary.

There is one thing that has always been consistent. That is people will do what ever makes them more comfortable. Right, wrong, or in between. I have seen worship services both traditional and contemporary that neither worshiped God nor taught any scriptural truth.

I can conclusively say one thing for sure. That is no matter the process it is possible for a worship service to be shallow and with out purpose.

We can all agree that if a worship service is more concerned with entertainment than edification then it is not worship. If a worship service is more concerned with process than truth then it is not worship. If it is more concerned with giving the people what they want than giving God what he wants then it is not worship.

What is worship is practicing what little example we have from scripture and history. What is worship is teaching and practicing Christ’s doctrine not man’s. What is worship is giving praise to our Heavenly Father. After that in my opinion is just fluff.
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Post by John-Boy » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:21 am

Odysseus wrote:Jflo,

Let's try an experiment: What is the final destination of the believer?
Superintendent of Sunday School?
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Post by Odysseus » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:49 am

John-Boy wrote:Superintendent of Sunday School?
No help from the banana section!
Peace be with you.

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Post by PipeAndPint » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:05 am

John-Boy wrote:
Odysseus wrote:Jflo,

Let's try an experiment: What is the final destination of the believer?
Superintendent of Sunday School?
Super-Duperintendent of Sunday School?
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Post by TweednBriar » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:07 am

PipeAndPint wrote:
John-Boy wrote:
Odysseus wrote:Jflo,

Let's try an experiment: What is the final destination of the believer?
Superintendent of Sunday School?
Super-Duperintendent of Sunday School?
I think that you may be on the slippery banana that leads to destruction.

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Post by PipeAndPint » Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:08 am

TweednBriar wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
John-Boy wrote:
Odysseus wrote:Jflo,

Let's try an experiment: What is the final destination of the believer?
Superintendent of Sunday School?
Super-Duperintendent of Sunday School?
I think that you may be on the slippery banana that leads to destruction.
Archmoderator of Presbytery?
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