A.W. Tozer once remarked that a church in Chicago was advertising itself as “not your father’s church”. Tozer had his fair criticism of that statement. To me, it sounds like a diagnosis of a disease. Such a statement does not sound like something to brag about. In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, we read: “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” The command is to “stand firm” and “hold”. Some churches and ministries have replaced that with “buckle” and “release”.
We are told that churches are being innovative and cutting edge. It looks and smells like compromise to me. They cloud a supposed “love for lost” or “meet them where they are” mentality in a love of the world. They have buckled from the clear teachings of scripture. A now dissolved mass of congregations in Washington state had thousands flock to it at one time. One of their “claims to fame” was offering beer making classes. You will pardon my old Fundamentalist approach, but I do not think beer or a class about making beer has any place in a church. This is a classic case of buckling. Churches are filling pews, but not by preaching the gospel, but by buckling down under compromise. A larger problem in our area is the so called “wealth, health, and prosperity” teachings. This nonsense is a buckling under the worldly ambitions of people. Jesus did not die to make you happy; He died to make you holy. If you are truly saved, there is no greater happiness than holiness. Filth such as “constant victory” or “God doesn’t want me to be sick” may fill pews, but it will not fill heaven.
The command to hold is the command to hold, even if everyone else lets go. Release is not an option. The most obvious illustration of this is the marriage issue. Our culture is becoming more and more affirming of the so-called “alternative lifestyle”. I expect lost people to act like lost people; however, I do not expect churches and Christians to follow along with them. I do not care if every other church in the world falls trap to the compromise of marriage, the church I have stewardship of as pastor, will hold to the biblical definition of marriage (one man and one woman for life) until we are the last one left. We will not release God’s clear teachings in the Bible.
The root of these issues is that fact that the Gospel convicts and demands repentance of sin. People do not appreciate conviction and condemnation. Churches are making attempts to remove conviction and condemnation to draw more people and meet the world’s definition of success. Vance Havner said: “The preacher (church) who is concerned with gaining a reputation, rising in his profession, is always in bondage.” That, my beloved, is a bondage that I do not want.
Do you not love that old time religion? It was good enough for our fathers. Is it good enough for you? We must stand firm and hold our ground, because the King is coming.
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16