Berean cogitations

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Alan Redpath (1907 – 1989) was a well-known British preacher and the pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. Shortly before his death, he wrote the following scathing denounciation of the current trend of focusing on entertainment within modern churches. I think his words speak for themselves.

God is trying to tell us that our current popular version of Christianity - comfortable, humorous, superficial, entertaining, worldly-wise - is exposed for the irreverent presentation of the Gospel of Christ that it really is. A preacher is commissioned to give people - not what they want - but what they need. No man has any business walking into the pulpit to entertain. He is there to present Calvary in all it's fullness of hope and glory.

John MacArthur issued similarly scathing words as well, albeit balanced with his usual gentle spirit:

It seems to me that if any one problem out strips all the others in the church, it is the utter lack of spiritual discernment; the ability to discern truth from error regarding God and the things of God. The church today has boundless credulity (they'll believe virtually anything). And the result is, the modern church is filled with: bad decisions, faulty reasoning, superficial understanding, shallow knowledge, and wide-spread ignorance. Collectively, those things have added more anguish to the church throughout her history, than all the persecutions combined.

Jesus said that "wolves" would "come in sheep's clothing." The Apostle Paul said, "Grievous wolves will enter in, not sparing the flock." Paul wrote to Timothy and said as time goes on "evil men will get worse and worse, and deception will increase." Paul again said, "there will be doctrines of demons that will lead people astray." To put it mildly, there is a world of chaos and confusion in the church today. We cannot, therefore, believe for a moment that everyone who claims to be "in Christ" and to "speak on behalf of Christ" is speaking the truth. Distinguishing truth and error has become vital to the 21st century Christian.

Yet, despite that, there is a greater than ever lack of discernment in the church today. And it is showing up in all kinds of different ways. The undiscerning contemporary church, for example, has often rejected Darwin and Huxley but accepted Freud. It has often rejected doctrine and favored and embraced so-called "unity in our relationships," as if that were the priority. It has become fascinated with entertainment and bored with exposition. It has been enamored with feelings, and undervalued clear thinking. As a result, evangelical Christianity, and listen to this, is fighting for its very life. And our time cries out for people with discernment, with the ability to tell the false from the true.

--John MacArthur, Workman series,