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 lite church by David Ravenhill


[b]lite church[/b]
[i]by David Ravenhill[/i]

Go into any supermarket these days and you will find a vast variety of ‘lite foods’ which offer less fat and fewer calories. While this may constitute smart marketing on the part of food producers, it should not be carried over to the Church.
Some years ago I saw a cartoon in a Christian magazine that showed a sign in front of a church with the following statement:

LITE CHURCH
1 service weekly
13 minutes of worship
10 minute message
No repentance
7 commandments
8% tithe

While I don’t recall the entire sign, this was the gist of its message. I chuckled to myself when I first saw it but have since come to see that this cartoon has now become a reality in many churches.

There is a rapidly growing trend throughout Christendom to be culturally relevant. While I have no problem with using new methodology, I deplore the new message that shuns any mention of sin, repentance, judgment or hell.

I recently spoke with a pastor friend who moved to a major southern city to plant a new congregation. Desiring to sense the spiritual pulse of the city, he spent a few months visiting various congregations. The successful pastor of a growing church told him, “I have several lesbians passing out bulletins. I also have a number of unsaved people in the worship team.” This pastor believed that these people would eventually be converted as they became exposed to the gospel. I assume that these people had been attending for some time prior to being asked to serve. Consequently, I must also assume that in his preaching there was no mention of sin or the need for repentance. Apparently there was no conviction from the Holy Spirit to cause these people to feel uncomfortable in their sin.

As I’m writing this commentary, I’ve just returned from ministering at the annual Pure Life Ministries Alumni Conference. What an incredible experience to see dozens of men—who had previously been involved in every imaginable type of sexual perversion—testifying to God’s amazing grace. These men knew the power of sin, but they had also come to know the greater power of God’s deliverance. To hear them sing about their mighty Redeemer and Emancipator brought tears to my eyes; no professional choir could compare with the genuine gratitude with which they sang.

With the growing popularity of the seeker-sensitive church movement, we are seeing less and less mention of sin. This, in turn, is leading to an overemphasis on the acceptance of people just the way they are – sin and all. Some of our leading theologians have already eliminated the doctrine of hell, leaving people nothing to fear. If we also eliminate sin from our preaching, then there is nothing to repent of or to be saved from. The end result of all this is that we will no longer feel a need for a Savior. This devilish doctrine will surely lead to the eternal destruction of many souls. The very foundation of the Church is being undermined and its very existence is being threatened.

If this is the path we are going to take, then we should change the word Church (ecclesia, which means “the called out ones”) to Arab (the Hebrew word meaning “to mingle or braid or mix”).
May God have mercy upon us all.


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