Weekly Sabbath Survey
Hoodwinked by Hype — 7-18-2015
Several years ago when I was single, I attached myself to a church group in San Antonio. It was a few hundred people, recently moved into a new building near where I lived. At first I felt kind of ignored and isolated from the people. But when the music director formed a choir, I joined and began to make friends. On Mothers Day that year, my son and grandson were with me in church. I was so proud!
Later, when the ministry imploded, the preacher literally fled the country, and the people were left in factions. The choir and a few others stuck with the music minister and we ended up forming another church, meeting in a strip mall. (It seems almost comical how we don’t get it right, then REPEAT, with the same horrid result!) When I told my son of the awful things going on, he said, “Mom, you were so happy there and enjoying your new friends, I couldn’t say anything on Mother’s Day. But I was really surprised that you didn’t recognize it for the Dog and Pony Show it was.” I was relieved from my loneliness, too happy and satisfied to see any of the ‘signs’ of trouble that were obvious.
As I think back, I realize just about every “church” I have been involved with these past 15-20 years has been to some degree or the other, a place of entertainment, where they put on a “show.” So, The Ship of Zion has become more like The Good Ship Lollipop!! They all have a certain way of operating. They employ every electronic gizmo available. The music is deafening. They have visual aids. Lights and smoke. I have seen a 6 foot plus pastor ride out on the platform on a kid’s tricycle. I’ve seen a big bed on the platform with a young couple in pajamas feigning an argument as the warm up for the sermon. I’ve seen young women on the “worship” team dressed up like Old Testament pagan belly dancers. Really big churches put on pageants with a cast of hundreds, including live animals to make it “real.” Entertainment is a big thing in The Church of What’s Happening Now. And the other big thing is a ‘light word’ that OFFENDS NO ONE.
Why are we trying to compete with the Super Bowl half time show? Jesus told us to go into the world and preach the Gospel. Why are we, Sunday by Sunday, inviting the world to come to into our church and find it seeker friendly, non-threatening to their lifestyle, and delightfully entertaining? All this is beyond superficial and certainly empty of spiritual power and righteousness. But how our flesh LOVES it!
There is nothing seeker friendly about the message of Jesus, which is basically, “Come die with Me.” It’s that ‘something’ about Him that makes most people run away, and only a few stick with Him. Why are we trying to repackage Jesus so people will want to join us? Why do we keep making the message ‘friendly’ and trying to get MORE people when we don’t even take care of or properly teach the ones we already have? Why is “farce” turning over in my mind? Webster: “A ridiculous or empty show; a mockery.”
If God’s blood-bought people would read their Bibles, and let it be their guide, they wouldn’t be hoodwinked by hype. God would open their eyes, and maybe even send their own son to tell them like He did me! They would flee this 21st Century church format. They would look for the little brown church in the wildwood where the oak pews are worn smooth, the old fashioned preachers deliver the Word of Truth with conviction and Holy Spirit power, and the people all know what sin and repentance are. (Or, they might find it in somebody’s living room while sitting cross-legged on the floor!)
How long will the people who claim to know Jesus continue to be blinded by the farce? How long can those who actually know better continue to be a part of it? Where are the leaders who will weep for God’s people to come to wake from their stupor and realize how late is the hour and how short the time remaining to us? It is high time we come out of our closet shouting, “Here comes the Groom!!!!”
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and do not give thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: why should they say among the nations, “Where is their God?” Joel 2:16-17
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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