Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wake-up Call For the LCMS

From Christianity Today:

Keeping It Real
Can staged worship "experiences" lead to a false gospel?
James Gilmore

...As a business guy, I'm always cautious about taking any business thinking and applying it to the church. Don't take this stuff about the experience economy and make worship a staged experience. Consumerism has come to dominate contemporary evangelicalism. We're becoming a reflection of the world, instead of standing apart from the world. The church has moved to "spectacalism," which can become a false gospel.

All of life is being commodified. The church should be the one place that stands apart and says, We have nothing for sale. We only offer a free gift. The church ought to be the place where people see that there's something different about this place and this people from anything one experiences elsewhere in the commercial marketplace.

To me, the church should not aim to be "real" as an end. The church is there to proclaim truth. Trying to be hip and cool and real does a disservice to the church. We're not called to be successful. We're called to be obedient, even if they don't come. Ministry leaders should think more like Noah, of being part of a remnant that is faithful. If somebody doesn't find you objectionable, I wonder if you're preaching the full counsel of God.

To some extent, if people view the church as being fake, they will never enter. But the extent to which the church has become a business, with food courts, skate parks, basketball courts, etc.–I think people look at it and say, That's not really a church. That's fake.
So why are LCMS churches embracing this model of church? Even Bill Hybels has realized the danger!

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