| Elitism and the gospel of experiential blessing|
A new gospel for a new generation.
Firstly I want to say that this thread is terrific, mature, and insightful with much depth and contribution from all, and relevant.It is an issue that needs to be addressed, with out instituting legalism as the catch all for reform, for our youth , or against ourselves.
I believe that we have been sold a bill of goods, and received something, that we did not bargain for , concerning our youth. It has deep roots, but essentially, it is the idea that the World will see a "Great End time revival", that will sweep in a billion or so youth. It is also coupled with the idea that the "youth are our future", and and the idea of "youth ministers", creating a special class within the body of "up and comers", along with various venues such as "Youth Camp", "Youth Missions", youth night, and so on. It is not Biblical, and has created a disconnect overall in the Church.
Even Sunday school is up in the air for me. Isaiah talks of the Church coming together for communion.."therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and they shall flow together for the goodness of the Lord. "For wheat and for wine, [b]"The young and the old", the weak and the strong..[/b].
The body is the entire body, that is commanded and expected to care one for another. It has always been so, for the born again. We created this disconnect, as part of our theology the our youth needed special attention to meet their needs, and to make them feel more compatible in their view that the gospel was not as boring as it seemed, sitting bored to death as a six year old , twiddling with your dollies or a coloring book, all dressed up like a princess, and then the boy's scenario similar.
This idea has continued for many, many years. It has been somewhat divisive, I believe in family structure, within the Church, which the Lord has made a paramount issue,,,as you consider the Call of Abraham. "I know you will teach your offspring my ways"...IE; The Godly Seed Word, which is bound within the APEX of the motivation of Faith itself. Abraham succeeded, it seemed. It was not a disconnect. In many societies today, and even in American cultural Christianity, such as the Anabaptists they strive not to disconnect.[with some exceptions]
In the stricter sects of Judaism today, there is a vibrant jealousy to maintain relationship with the child, to direct and shepherd, to maintain the bloodline and hope of faith. The Kibbutz, and various communities around Israel, are a joy to behold.[ not necessarily spiritual in Christ] as the young and old are expected to honor and love one another, in the bounds of family, and extended family...and friends.
In the Jesus movement, we were all young. It was almost as though only the youth culture got saved, and as I look back, I wonder WHY?...It is something that the Lord just did. We were ilitists, to some degree..[I speak only of my experience with my peers] We were however, almost all Babtized in the Holy spirit, and vastly committed, at least in comparison to today. We prayed together at every meal, carried our Bibles everywhere we went, and it was uncommon to not see someone saved daily.
Could it be though, that the disconnect occurred, and was derived from a sense of failure and guilt?. Because we accepted, as we grew older, the unspiritual nature, and comparitive deadness of our unspirit filled churches, we deferred our children in hope? We then, pawned our Children off to the "program"..the camp, the special nights, and then, where we are today. the conferences, that have to do something to create excitement. The music became cultural, as it always does, and the conviction of the Spirit, is replaced with a more easy and more fun, relaxed venue.
Enter the emerging church, where everyone is accepted. "Come as you are!" is the cry, replacing "come to the Cross!. Salvation itself is covered with the comfort food of motivational teachings that motivate you to be a better person, and of course, a more satisfied one. This then becomes the theology of the new Gospel. It is a church committed to the edifying of itself, far, far away from the tenants of repentence and faith based on self denial, and learning how to love. It's not about that..The gospel is about me.
[timed , will continue next.] Tom
| 2008/8/19 1:10|
| Re: The fire of the "emerging church"...the Lambs.|
I believe that it is not an overstatement to declare that the "Emerging Church" is , and has been established on youth culture. It has become what we called [b]HIP[/b] in the 70s. We had Christian "Coffee Houses", which was quite revolutionary 40 years ago. We used these venues to witness Jesus, and as a fishing hole, for those who may come to Christ. We had good music..rock christian hymns that related. We had good coffee.We made people FEEL accepted and loved. We drew the line at the close of the cafe. The new gospel has refused to do so. They confront with new ideas about church. They have made our coffeehouse their substance for Christian ministry.
Come as you are. We will love you. You are accepted here. you will grow , and desire God, as you experience God's love. It is not unusual to see unsaved people, living in open immorality, attend for years, in one congregation, without ever being confronted with repentence, and Faith towards God. It then stands to reason, that the Gospel Should Not be preached. because it would offend the seekers, which in reality, may be over 50% of the attending Church.
There then is implied, or directed that there should not be any difference between those who have believed, covered by the blood of Jesus, and those who now may be on the "Journey" to believe. It is no longer a Church, in the Classic sense of the Apostle Paul's fellowships, but a mish mash of some gospel and a lot of feel goodism and motivational teaching; how to better your marriage, how to manage and increase your finances, and how to grow your church.
It's roots go way back, but you can start counting in our culture when the charismatic church began to explode via the TV set. It then began to flow world wide. One of the great American exports. It is very, very sad. [I sat in China with a group of young people, who were not saved, but thought they were, having been evangelized by an American English teacher, who promoted this idea to the hilt. They asked me what percentage of Americans were saved....80%...."no" 70%..."no" 50% ...."no". They were shocked, because they equated the Gospel with the American lifestyle of easy believism. Jesus was cool, and a happier faith than any. We are a prosperous club. This is the idea of the emerging church, and at that point, Jesus is only the Grand facilitator to make me and my friends more successful and contented. This then becomes TRUE CHRISTIANITY. I answered my Chinese friends. They anticipated, with gleaming faces..[after all, they had found the treasure.] 1%, maybe 2%, are real CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA! They were sure I misspoke, and were deflated when I explained. Many of them then really knew, that indeed they were lost. I preached Christ and him crucified.
This is worldwide. It has invaded Africa, and India, the Philippines..., the entire Earth....and the reaction of the youth is similar, I believe. It is a non-gospel message, and it is capsulized in the title of a famous book..."Your best life now".
Without fathers, if there were one billion people saved in these last days, how many of them would you say would survive? With the forces out there, promoting these self serving and experiential gospels as the true, and deception increasing everyday...not many, probably. We have witnessed a generation deceived, in good times , right at our kitchen table.
Without holy mothers and fathers, that has the courage to trumpet that the Blood of Jesus believed and received, and a cross lived is the only way to Glory, the church itself won't survive..[if that were possible]. The youth movement in all of it's forms today, has been moved away from these ancient foundations. "WHERE ARE THE FATHERS!"
I think it was indicative of how the recent Lakeland "outpouring" was received. It was at least 80% youth, in my estimation; watching it on the NET. It didn't matter about doctrine...people were getting healed, and the excitement level was outstanding, and the "high" was good. The music was tops, and my, there 's a lot of babes here! Let us return....Oh, and we might just see an Angel! "How cool is that?"
You see, TB was the quintessential youth, and cool dude! Tattoo, piercings, skeletal images of death on his BLACK T-shirt...and the tattoo. DANK DUDE! He capitalized on the new Gospel energized by the defining force...Youth, and the me gospel of easy believism and a pleasure centered better, happier , more fulfilled me! "Isn't that what the gospel is about?
"Shepherd my flock! Feed my Sheep. Feed my Lambs!" The lambs are the young sheep. they would be called the "YOUTH!"
| 2008/8/19 2:24|
Is a shallow conversion any conversion at all? This is one of the dangers that Brother Tozer warned about many years ago, he could see it coming.
I was thinking this morning that the greatest sin is not all the carnival like additions or the soulishness of the services but being [i]ashamed of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ[/i] that brings folk into a true Born Again experience. Many are outright rejecting the true Gospel and are following hard after "proof text decision" based church building. Many have heard the truth and rejected it; continuing to preach it. Therefore it shall be on their own heads. What happens when men reject knowledge?
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/8/19 8:06||Profile|
Hi Robert and Brothertom
Great replies. I believe that another factor to the current situation is the notion of a "nominal Christian." I think it was Bill Brights "Campus Crusade for Christ," that really started to push this notion. An explanation had to brought about to explain why so many could "accept," Jesus but have no meaningful change in their lives. There is no Scriptural basis for "Nominal," Christians. There are "weaker ," brothers for sure, but no Scriptural basis for the person that we would now describe as "nominal.".........Frank
| 2008/8/19 9:12|
For those that might be interested I compiled a group of resources that give 'clues' as to why we have greatly lost the concept of New Birth. I originally posted this resource on Sermonindex in 2005 but it is now available on a fellow brother here on SI's (Aaron Ireland cjakforest) blog. It is called [url=http://blog.theocraticfaith.com/2008/06/30/betrayal01/]THE BETRAYAL OF THE AGES (A brief history of the de-emphasis of the New Birth). [/url] It is [u]not intended to place blame or to point fingers[/u]. most of the names mentioned are great men of God. It is rather a resource to help us understand [i]what[/i] we have lost, how we lost it and how we might recover it. There is another resource here that I would couple with it called [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=24214&forum=34&post_id=&refresh=Go]The Gospel of God's Great Love. [/url] I hope to return to complete this series soon.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/8/19 9:37||Profile|
Thank you for this post.
At 20, I've been brought up in this 'acquire the fire' generation, and sadly this type of Christianity is on the increase here in the UK (certainly in my area anyway) - especially among young people.
The young people don't seem to have any roots any more. Their relationship with Christ, and even their view of the Lord, will waiver in parallel with their emotions.
In my own life of late, I've had to look back over a lot of past 'experiences' and say, "No, I missed it there".
I just hope others, especially those younger than me, will begin to do the same when looking at past soulish experiences that have been accredited to God.
For me, and I've written in more detail in another post on this, the Hillsong church was the height of 'soulish Christianity' that I had access to.
May we lay down these past experiences and seek that which is of Spirit, for those that worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.
"Let God be true, and every man a liar".
| 2008/8/19 12:13||Profile|
Hi Adam.....great to hear from you. As you may or may not know, I am from Scotland, my town is called Greenock. I go back and forward fairly frequently between there and my now home in Kansas. I also have a cousin who lives in Wales. So I have first hand experience of what is going on, not only among the youth, but adults too. Its sad for me to think that many of my Scottish brothers and sisters look to the American church for their inspiration. Seems like the mistakes made here, filter back to many of the Pentecostal denominations back home. Lakeland would be a good example.
Can I say, for a young man of 20, you give me hope. May the Lord bless you in wisdom and influence in your local area and Body. Death to self , picking up our cross's daily, embracing the life that the Lord leads us into, whether that will be blessings and sufferings(they are really both the same and you will experience both)is the way of Christ. Follow Him to Calvary and beyond.
Did you know that SI are having their revival conference in my home town of Greenock? Perhaps you could make it there? Hopefully there are people of a similiar mindset to yours in your area? My prayers are with you Adam............Frank
| 2008/8/19 12:46|
Thank you everyone for bringing many good insights to this issue.
Thank you also Robert and Aaron for making "The Betrayal of the Ages" available.
| 2008/8/19 13:09||Profile|
| Re: What fire has the younger generation acquired|
Somehow I think this daily from Tozer, sorta fits in here. Forgive me if it doesn't.
Evangelism: Conviction and Pain
"So I said, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."
"When Isaiah cried out, "I am undone!" it was a cry of pain. It was the revealing cry of conscious uncleanness. He was experiencing the undoneness of the creature set over against the holiness of the Creator.
"What should happen in genuine conversion? What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?
"There ought to be that real and genuine cry of pain. That is why I do not like the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card.
"There should be a birth from above and within. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy, holy God. Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be."
Whatever Happened to Worship? p. 76
| 2008/8/19 14:16||Profile|
| Re: Fake Witness!|
Death to self , picking up our cross's daily, embracing the life that the Lord leads us into, whether that will be blessings and sufferings(they are really both the same and you will experience both)is the way of Christ. Follow Him to Calvary and beyond.
I must say that I never believed the modern church, but through the wonderful teaching of the holy spirit in me and my dad I have found truth in the writing of old. Starting with Tozer, how he exposed the modern church of today and now W.Nee who exposed the half gospel being preached. I only desire to live and die the life of the cross.
I say now is the time to die to self, and take up the cross, no one but you can do it and this must not be put on the next generation. For it is your generation Christ wants to live out his life in you for them. If not we will suffer the loss of the coming kingdom and the much fruit.
The Messenger of the Cross W.Nee pg 19
No one can testify without personal experience. To put it even more candidly, the one who has no experience of what he proclaims is a fake witness! And because of this the Holy Spirit refuses to work with such individuals.
Hence may the cross which we proclaim crucify us on it! May we bear the cross we preach! May we first receive the life which we intend to impart to others! May the cross which we proclaim be that which we experience daily in our lives! For if our message is to produce eternal effect, it must first become the food of our soul. Through the trials of daily living it is burned into our very being so that we bear the mark of the cross in our every action. Those who bear, branded in their body, the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 6.17) can alone proclaim Him. Oh, let me remind you that sudden thought or knowledge obtained from books and study may please the audience temporarily, but it will leave no permanent impression. If our work is simply for human appreciation, then we have already done our duty by presenting mental and emotional source materials. Fortunately, though, our work is not for such purpose!
Christian Roy Merlino
August 19, 2008
Christian Roy Merlino
| 2008/8/19 15:29||Profile|