Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Seeker Sensitive Churches - The Yoke's On You

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (NIV) (2 Corinthians 6:14)
 I've heard that verse being used in regards to marital and romantic relationships between a saved Christian and an unbeliever, but if we look at the actual context of the verse it's not really about that. Using the 20/20 rule (to gain the proper context read 20 verses before and 20 verses after any verse you want to use) we see that Paul isn't talking about marriage in 2 Corinthians 6:14, his discourse on marriage is found in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, but avoiding being spiritually unevenly yoked in a personal relationship is still good advice. However the context of 2 Corinthians 6:14 is in the context of the ministry of the Corinthians, the Church of Corinth. Let's look again in context: 
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among themAnd I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6: 14-18, 2 Corinthians 7:1)
If you want to infer that Paul is talking about man and wife, then the only true couple that can be found in this context is Christ and His bride, the Church. What Paul is saying with his yoking reference is that it's not right to join into a spiritual enterprise with those that are not spiritually equipped (unbelievers). Paul asks what harmony does Christ have with Belial - the answer is none, Belial is Satan. So how could the body of Christ's church, believers, find harmony with unbelievers? Seriously. Here's a group of people who, like us, have been exposed to all of God's attributes, power, and nature through His creation, and they turned their backs. They have no excuse. (Romans 1:20) So on a spiritual level what do we have in common with them? 

So let me say it now and get it over with: The Christian Church Is For Saved Christians Not Unbelievers.

If you think that considering the Christian church being just for saved Christians is cruel, intolerant, and exclusionary maybe you better take it up with God, not me. God makes it implicitly clear what He wants the Church to be. He wants men running the churches and He tells us exactly what He expects of them (Titus 1:5-9), (1 Timothy 3:1-13). He gave us the ordinances that we are to follow (1 Corinthians 11), (Matthew 28:19). He told us that our worship service is to consist of preaching, teaching, prayer, and fellowship (Acts 2:42) and to collect an offering (2 Corinthians 9:7). Christians enjoy each other, we enjoy hearing the word spoken by a loving, knowledgeable teacher, we may dislike a mirror held up to show us our sins but we know we need it to be reminded why God's grace is so incredibly awesome. Unfortunately this stuff will bore the average unbeliever to tears or they'll think it's hilarious because they don't understand, and we know that they don't understand, we have no reason to believe any other way:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
The seeker sensitive church seeks to reach out to unbelievers by making the church experience as palatable as possible to someone who has turned their back on God. Popular preachers with great hair stand before thousands of adoring fans, rock bands blare out songs about love with no other particular subject involved, and little short sermons revolve around how your life can be so much better by just being you. Behind the state-of-the-art staging and sound system (to keep the unbeliever entertained) are nurseries, day care, adult day care, and programs meant to amuse the participant rather than glorify the Creator.  

The seeker sensitive church believes if you build a temple of christian flavored entertainment, they will come. They want to 'hook' the 'unchurched' person with entertaining music and theatrics, substitute the word of God for 20 minutes of self help pablum, and eventually they will "get it". Unfortunately for the believers in the audience the message is so watered down in order to thrill and entertain the unbeliever that the sheep are being starved in order to feed the goats.

The goal of the seeker sensitive church is to reach out to the lost. A praiseworthy intention indeed, nowhere in the bible does it infer that Starbucks, McDonalds, bowling alleys, gyms, spas, and yoga is the medium of choice for spreading the good news of the Gospel. In fact the bible doesn't even say to bring unbelievers into the midst of true believers. The Church is not a rec-center to attract unbelievers to God:
Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:17)
The Church is unified as the Body of Christ, we are members of His body. When you consider changing worship of God into a watered down Christian flavored circus simply to attract outsiders is analogous to inviting infection. WE do not build the church, Jesus builds the church. 
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18)
We come together for education, edification, support, correction, love and fellowship, we go out into the world to spread the gospel to the unbelievers:
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)
When it comes to the Church, our job is to support and love each other when we're together then go out into the nations and preach the Gospel, let Jesus bring his chosen in to our midst. He won't need a Starbucks or 16 piece rock band. Silly attempts to draw in unbelievers with frippery and gimmicks, women in the pulpits, gay marriages just to show the unbelievers how 'hip' they are usurp Jesus' position as the builder of the church. The seeker sensitive church tells Jesus He's not doing His job right and it tells the world exactly how far they have fallen from God's grace. 

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