Church changing, and not for the better

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Everywhere you turn today, everybody is talking about the odd weather we are experiencing nationwide. As we look and observe the weather pattern, no one seems to realize and mention how the church world has changed.

As I have observed the church world in past years, I see a drastic change. What little Bible reading I have done, The Bible has a lot to say about sin, judgment and hell as well as heaven. I can remember when preachers would preach on these subjects and warn people of coming judgement, if they did not repent and get right with God. You don't hear much, if anything, about that. The Bible says "Godly sorrow worketh repentance." Don't hear much today about repentance. It is "come down, say a little prayer after me, let us duck you in water and put your name on the church roll" -- and a lot of them you never see again. All that does is boost the church membership rolls and the pastor's ego.

From what I have read in the Bible, the mission of the church is to reach the lost and make disciples of them. Now it seems it is to see who can get the most members, get the biggest offerings and build the biggest church.

Often you go to church and as you enter, you are met by tables of merchandise being sold. I believe that Christ made a whip and drove the money-changers out of the temple, saying it was to be a house of prayer. Wonder what he would do today if he came to a lot of the churches today on Sunday morning?

If I am off-track on this, maybe someone could enlighten me on what version of the Bible I need to get, because the one I have does not coincide with today's teachings you hear on television and lots of the local churches.

Don Matthews, Augusta

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DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 04/23/08 - 04:30 am
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Perhaps you need to attend

Perhaps you need to attend Fleming Baptist on Peach Orchard Road.

christian134
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christian134 04/23/08 - 05:24 am
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Don I have been to some of

Don I have been to some of those 'so called churches' and your letter is right on point...Many preachers want to speak on nothing that will upset their congregations...People, many times, just want to feel the warm and fuzzies when they need to be told of the outcome of sin....Preachers get back to preaching the Word as Jesus commanded.....Souls are being lost eveyday, it seems, because of your need for ever increasing congregations and the monies that are being collected....

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/23/08 - 05:35 am
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'Ware the customs and

'Ware the customs and traditions of man.

dani
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dani 04/23/08 - 07:00 am
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Thank you Don. You are right.

Thank you Don. You are right. I talk to others often who are no longer a part of organized religion. Church members believe that they can be 'saved' without repenting. Give me the "ole-time religion".

2tired2argueanymore
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2tired2argueanymore 04/23/08 - 07:10 am
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There are definitely too many

There are definitely too many churches out there that are trying to fit into todays society and not sticking with sound doctrine of the Bible. We are in the feel good church era. It used to be when you went to church you got your toes stepped on by the pastor when he let you know just how much you are falling short of meeting God's commandments. Today we are politically correct and we worry about hurting someone's feelings. The bad part is that on judgement day when you face God his question is going to be "did you love me and follow my commandments", not "did you love me and do what felt right to you".

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 08:34 am
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We have forgotten that the

We have forgotten that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive. It offends by design. That's what truth does. Jesus said he came to earth to be a "Stumbling Block" that people would trip over, but never claimed to be a psychotherapist or "positive thinking" speaker who simply says everyone is a good person. The Gospel is a 2-edged sword who's truth brings division between those who accept it vs. those who reject it (these blogs are a great example of this division). You can't smooth it over. You can't dilute it in the waters of tolerance and diversity. It is what it is. Accept it or reject it. It's your choice, and all are welcome to investigate it. But it's not an easy pill to swallow. It causes you to change your life, or reject it and keep on living your own life. It's too bad that this real truth is being communicated less and less in today's relativistic and "tolerant" culture that demands convenient, made-to-order religion at the expense of Jesus' truth.

The_Last_Word
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The_Last_Word 04/23/08 - 09:31 am
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Amen, howcanweknow.

Amen, howcanweknow.

constitutionnow
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constitutionnow 04/23/08 - 09:32 am
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This move toward increased

This move toward increased Church membership at the cost of doctrine is referred to as the "Emergent Church" or the "Seeker Friendly" movements. The heretical "churches" have begun mixing animism, mysticism and tolerance at the expense of God's Word with their own so called "gospel" to include many sins that God specifically condemns such as homosexuality, mysticism and Biblical addition. Now, lest anyone have a knee jerk reaction to the preceding reference to homosexuality, I affirm that we should love the sinner (because we are all sinners) but hate the sin. In the words of the ineffable J. Vernon McGee, "if you can continue in sin and be comfortable with it, you should examine your salvation".

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 09:39 am
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Absolutely so. All the words

Absolutely so. All the words here about "sin" are not pointing fingers outwardly -- those same fingers are pointed inwardly as well. We're all sinners in need of a Savior. No one is perfect. It does not offend me in the least to have Jesus tell me that I am NOT good. That's simply the truth. I accept that, and look to Him as my standard for behavior and lifestyle. But, the fact that I'm a sinner should in no way prevent me from speaking the truth against that sin (even one I'm struggling with). No hypocrisy or double standards here. Just trying to uphold Jesus' standard with the realization that I seldom meet that standard myself.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 09:59 am
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To what specific myth(s) are

To what specific myth(s) are you referring?

lovingthesouth72
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lovingthesouth72 04/23/08 - 11:16 am
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Allow me to direct you dear

Allow me to direct you dear friend: www.catholicscomehome.org

otpor
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otpor 04/23/08 - 11:29 am
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Christianity has been a

Christianity has been a historically assimilationist religion, so it comes as no surprise that that aspect of it has been bastardized. Believe me, I don't put much stock in the Bible as a literal work, but the perversion of religion, no matter the faith, is a sad sign.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 11:41 am
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While it is true that the

While it is true that the 4-5th century institutionalized Church tended to assimilate certain formats and hierarchies from religions (even pagan religions and Roman civil gov't), it is pretty clear that the original core concepts of Christianity are not borrowed or assimilated. Those ideas are unique and very original. I'd refer you to a very informative and scholarly chapter in Lee Strobel's new book: The Case for the Real Jesus. This mistaken concept of Christian assimilation is well-researched and debunked very effectively (as are a lot of other all-too-common misconceptions regarding Christianity).

Bizarro
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Bizarro 04/23/08 - 12:03 pm
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Doesn't the bible teach that

Doesn't the bible teach that which divdes the body of Christ is false doctrine. In Revelations, Christ both compliments and then condemns each of the seven Church's for their state. Clearly someone is right and wrong about some of the details of biblical doctrine and beliefs.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 12:05 pm
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Minor point: It is

Minor point: It is "Revelation", not "Revelations".

christian134
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christian134 04/23/08 - 12:09 pm
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The basics to all this is

The basics to all this is that sure the Bible has been written and rewritten that is a given... It has been historically proven...What matters is that the Bible is basically intact from the original...It is the inspired Word of the Almighty God who formed everything and everyone....From the beginning down to the last word in Revelation it is as real as it gets....God's only Son came down to save mankind as the only sacrifice pure and good enough to atone our sins....He rose again on the third day and is in heaven with the Father waiting to come again to bring us all home.....Of course you have a choice to believe or not believe...Only you can make that decision...It is a matter of belief and faith.....

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 12:14 pm
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I'd have to agree with you

I'd have to agree with you that doctrine may be the #1 thing that divides Christians. Remember, Jesus did not institute denominations; man did that. The "Church of Jesus Christ" was the only original church, and His people were called "Christians", not Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopaleans, Methodists, Catholics, etc. I think it's a sorry thing to see all the divisions among Christians. But, people can be so petty that they will divide over most anything. Some churches have split over which type of music to have in worship: hymns vs. contemporary vs. no music at all. These are not really doctrinal issues, but are more tastes or traditions which people make into doctrine. Whenever traditions become so ingrained that they evolve into doctrine, you have the seeds planted for discord. Gotta start with the basic core truths and stick with those. I really like one of the mottos that the people of our church (non-denominational Christian Church) try to follow: In matters of doctrine, unity. In matters of opinion, flexibility. In all matters, love.

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Dan White 04/23/08 - 12:52 pm
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Gnosticism was a heresy with

Gnosticism was a heresy with the tenet that the body was evil. Since the body is evil, Christ therefore did not come in the human body, but He was only a spirit. This same heresy is propagated by the Mormons. Because of this heresy, the Church Fathers canonized what is today the New Testament and separated the authentic, Spirit inspired Scriptures from the Gnostic Scriptures. It was also out of this heresy, in part, that they formulated the Apostle's Creed which affirms that Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. This statement of faith affirms that Jesus indeed was the God-man who came in human flesh to take away the sins of the world - particularly those who believe in Him by faith and are born again.

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Dan White 04/23/08 - 12:59 pm
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To those fed up with

To those fed up with denominationalism and the bureaucrats that perpetuate these religious structures, I invite you to North Columbia Church which meets at the Eubank Blanchard Center, 6868 Cobbham Rd., north of Appling at 10am on Sundays. It's all about worshipping the Lord with no emphasis on building programs, baptizing more people to get the numbers up, or raising a big budget. This church is especially for those who have been disfranchised from the institutional church - those who no longer fit into such a church because they are looked down on in judgment by the proud and arrogant Pharisees of today. Warning: if you are not a broken sinner, a misfit, you won't like this church.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 01:00 pm
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Very true. Interestingly,

Very true. Interestingly, there has been an attempted revival of gnostic gospels of late (e.g., Gospel of Thomas), which try and dispute the well-established traditional Gospels of Matt., Mark, Luke, and John. The so-called "Jesus Seminar" is a good example of how modern "scholarship" is working its hardest to invent a "New and Improved" Jesus for the 21st century -- a Jesus that only tickles our ears and makes everyone feel good. Once you see their agenda, however, it's pretty clear this is just another retread of gnosticism that is glamorized so that these scholars can achieve fame, interviews on TV documentaries, and university tenure at the expense of historical truth.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 01:06 pm
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I like your idea,

I like your idea, Greenjacket. I believe that it is really not people that are leaving the institutional church (as numbers do indicate), but that the institutionalized church has left the people -- that is, it has left the original truths upon which the church was founded. People desire foundational truths upon which to build their lives and families. You seldom hear such real truths in the "Modern" churches where everyone is good and everyone is going to heaven.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 01:10 pm
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I should really say

I should really say "post-modern" church. That's the culture we're subjected to today.

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Dan White 04/23/08 - 01:18 pm
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You are absolutely right,

You are absolutely right, howcan. The institutional bureaucratic church has left the tenets of the Bible and the historical Christian faith and have allowed the culture of today to dictate its tenets. I'm not Catholic, but I tell you one thing - I admire the Pope for sticking to the tenets of Roman Catholicism and not trying to make that Church conform to those calling for relevancy. If someone wants to be a Catholic, they must conform to their teachings rather than vice versa. We on the Protestant side must be as adament for the unchanging truths of God's Word. People need to conform to Christ rather than trying to make Christ conform to their idiosyncrasies. All of the major institutional churches - United Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, etc. are dying. And the Southern Baptists are treading water. I can't blame this on our culture but lay the blame at the feet of denominational bureaucrats who demand that local churches pay into their big offices, high price cars, luxury homes, and million dollar programs.

El Guapo
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El Guapo 04/23/08 - 01:20 pm
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Modern churches are the

Modern churches are the reason I'm Agnostic.

142
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Dan White 04/23/08 - 01:22 pm
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Fox News posted on their

Fox News posted on their website today a new book and movie coming out that defames Christ by saying that Jesus was the son of a Roman soldier who raped Mary. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352277,00.html
Director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct) is the one doing this. Can you imagine what would happen if he slandered Mohammed in this way?

Here-We-Go-Again
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Here-We-Go-Again 04/23/08 - 01:23 pm
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I grew up Catholic, got

I grew up Catholic, got divorced and then later chose the Episcopal church (Catholic-lite). Later I ventured off to the Augusta Vineyard and then skipped around to most of the evangelical churches. I was never happy 'in church' because of the extreme hypocracy I found in each one of them. Bill Maher is right when he says "organized religion is dangerous". I've given it all up and feel tons better than I have in years and have reclaimed Sunday as my own. You don't need a church business to be close to God or another higher power. All you really need is FAITH.

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Dan White 04/23/08 - 01:26 pm
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My sympathies and

My sympathies and understanding go with you apachecris. Keep seeking, and I believe you will find and that God will reveal himself to you in Christ. The highways are littered with people who have been wounded by the churches and denominations of today. They are all about perpetuating the institution instead of giving a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. They talk a good game, but look at the money spent on propping up the institution. As Rush says, "Follow the money." The church grew expoentially in the first three hundred years without an organization, without buildings - meeting in one another's homes, and without programs or denominational bureaucrats.

142
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Dan White 04/23/08 - 01:29 pm
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Well, herewego - I don't

Well, herewego - I don't think there is any such thing as a private religion. Agreed, good churches are hard to find. I quit going for about 4 months and would rather have a tooth pulled than to try and hunt for a church. First, they take your name on a membership card and then they stick a pledge card in front of your nose wanting to know how much you are good for to keep the programs going, pay for the building, and to pay all of the salaries of their staff. Even meeting together with three or four people for worship and fellowship is a church and better than going it alone. We were made for relationships - relationship with God and relationship with one another in the love of Christ.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 04/23/08 - 01:37 pm
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Here-We Go, I hear you and

Here-We Go, I hear you and agree for the most part. However, faith itself is not quite enough. The Book of James makes that clear: even Satan and the demons have tremendous faith. True saving faith will be exemplified by obedience to God's commands. Not that you have to be perfect; far from it, actually. But, a godly person will strive to pursue the things of God, not man, and will study the Word of God. As you may know, that Word tells us not to stop meeting together as a corporate church body, and to regularly worship together as a church family. So, you need a church family. We all do. To neglect corporate worship and personal ministry is not the best for you, and really is disobedient to the God you believe in. So, I'd encourage you not to give up seeking a solid, Bible-believing church family. You need that. All Christians do. Don't let the past failures of many church experiences make you believe that all churches are bad. Keep seeking. You'll find it.

christian134
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christian134 04/23/08 - 01:37 pm
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Once was told that if I

Once was told that if I didn't join a certain religion that I was not going to heaven....I ended up informing that person that it is not a religion or any religion for that matter or if my religion 101 card was up to date...What matters is a belief in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, A Savior who forgave all my sins and redeemed me....Finally found a Preacher who preaches the Word not a funny watered down feel good version but the honest true Word that steps on toes....I need that toe stomping to keep me straight as I can be....Find God and Jesus Christ and you will be given the greatest gift of all..Salvation..:-) and It is Free....

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