This week, at the Together For the Gospel conference, John MacArthur supposedly made the following statement, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. I don’t know who said that, but it’s stupid.” The subsequent conversations that have followed have centered in the realm of semantics, arguing whether one can preach only through words – as preaching is a verbal activity – or if it’s appropriate to say that one can preach through actions as well. At the heart of this debate, though, is another debate of greater consequence: What is the gospel?
How should the church respond to homosexuals? Recently, the Huffington Post published an article in which the author lamented the church’s attitude toward homosexuals, his main point being that while Christians readily admit that everyone is a sinner, homosexuals are really the only group of people that receive the “sinner” label. This, in turn, leads to homosexuals feeling like outsiders within the church. The author feels this is not an acceptable response, and is therefore led to the conclusion that he can no longer “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” You can read that article here.
The view represented in this article has gained a lot of traction among Christians in recent years. While this is partly due to conviction, I can’t help but believe that a large segment is just exhausted… exhausted over the arguing, exhausted with being labeled a hate-monger, exhausted with the church telling them how they should act and think, but not seeing any progress in the world. In other words, if they have responded to homosexuals the way the church has told them is the biblical response, then there should have been a cultural decline in homosexuality. There hasn’t been, of course, which leaves the church scratching her head and pursuing new courses of action, whether it be redefining homosexuality in moral terms, or redefining what the church’s role is supposed to be toward sinful lifestyles.
Posted in: Worship
Across this country there are new churches being planted every day. This is especially true in the South. In my little town south of Nashville, it seems like there’s a new church plant every month. This is good news, right? I mean, the growth of the kingdom necessarily means that we’re gonna need more churches. Right? Well, in theory, that’s correct… but I don’t think that’s what is happening in this case. Instead, what I think we’re seeing is a whole segment of Christians who are church hopping. Yes, there are new churches being started, but at the expense of older ones. This is not necessarily a bad thing if the older ones are bad churches, but, again, I don’t think this is what is going on. Rather, I think what we’re seeing are dissatisfied Christians looking to revitalize their relationship with Christ. They’re looking for something new, something exciting. A new church means new possibilities – a fresh start.
The problem is, most Christians do not know why they are dissatisfied. They usually attribute it to community – they’re not clicking with anyone at their church. Sometimes they attribute it to the music – it’s not traditional enough, it’s not contemporary enough, etc. Sometimes it’s the lack of a “sold out” youth group. Or a pastor’s preaching style. Or not enough service projects. Or they’re not culturally relevant. The list goes on and on.
Remember that movie Unbreakable? (more…)
Posted in: Worship