Irony in American Churchism?

Friends, 

I saw this at the website of a church I randomly searched for:

Living Water Community Church is a multi-racial community that creates environments to help people to connect with God and each other, grow in faith, and serve the world in a way that makes Christ irresistible.

Anyhow, that part about ‘irresistible’, well, I’ll bet that gets all the Calvinists in an uproar.

With much love and affection for my flowery brothers,

jerry

_________________

At the same website, they have one of those flash things where it scrolls a bunch of pictures of whatever–sort of like a slideshow. I watched the pictures scrolling–in fact, I visit all the posted links on their front page–here’s what I saw:

Come Visit our New Campus

Gearworks Children’s Theater

Simple Irresistible Cafe

Fusion Youth Center

Play Zone

Main Sanctuary (A dark picture of the stackable chairs)

Atrium

Kidz Quest (spelling is theirs)

Well, sadly I saw nothing else at any of the links that would make this ‘church’ anything different from the YMCA I visited yesterday. No mention of the Cross, no mention of Christ except this:

Living Water Community Church is a multi-racial community that creates environments to help people to connect with God and each other, grow in faith, and serve the world in a way that makes Christ irresistible.

Which is decidedly self-centered.

Look, it’s easy to be critical of the outside and I have not visited there so who knows what’s really being preached. But, I know what’s being sold just from looking at the pictures, the links, and the various ministries. From all outward appearances it is fairly obvious that any mention of the cross is going to be strictly off limits.

For the record, people do not ‘connect with God and each other’ by being in the right ‘environment.’ This is just silly. There are people all over the world who are very connected with God, very connected with one another, and it has nothing to do with the sort of environment they happen to be in at the moment. I’m thinking of Christians who are growing in community in China or Iraq or Egypt or Sub-Saharan Africa. Come on, it is only in America that we think we need the ‘right’ environment to do these things.

In fact, Scripture has an altogether different take on ‘connecting with God.’ Interestingly enough, it has to do with Jesus Christ. In point of fact, our ‘connection’ with God has nothing to do with environment at all. Consider only these few verses from John’s Gospel:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-26, NIV)

And he said many other such things to. Friends, don’t be misled by such inane thoughts as these from people supposedly in the know because they own 20 acres of prime realty. The Scripture says that if you want to connect with God (or for my flowery friends, if God wants to connect with you) then you must, in fact, be in connection with Jesus. Environment, either right or wrong, has nothing to do with it.

Just to be fair, here’s a link http://www.livingwaterchurch.org/index.php so you can see that I’m not making up this stuff. Again, my disclaimer here is that I’ve never been there and I don’t know what they are preaching. But on the surface of things, it looks to be pretty much on the surface of things.

Sadly, there are many churches in America who are following the same path. I wonder, what sort of theological legacy will the church of today leave behind for our children? Does it really make an eternal difference if we have a Play Zone in our church building? I doubt it.

jerry

2 thoughts on “Irony in American Churchism?

  1. Be careful, my friend, they will accuse you of hating big churches and for being against outreach.

    It seems that people know that to attract worldly people you have to lift up their god: themselves. Sadly, it works.

    But we are called to lift up Christ! Good post.

  2. Sprocket,

    You are right, but I’m willing to take the risk. This stuff is brutal, and, in my judgment, will be the ruination of the church. It is cause for great sadness when the best thing we have to offer people who might want come to our church is ‘play zone.’ I know you agree.

    jerry

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