Contemporary churchianity: kool foolz can drool

Does that headline make sense? If not, good. Mission accomplished. This is a must read from author Brett McCracken on the utter foolishness the contemporary church is engaging in to get sheeple in the door. The hip, in the now makeover of church and christianity (churchianity) is in full effect [source]:

‘How can we stop the oil gusher?” may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.

As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.

Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.

Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn’t megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.

Increasingly, the “plan” has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called “the emerging church”—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too “let’s rethink everything” radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity’s image and make it “cool”—remains.

rpchurch signCan you imagine Jesus saying to the 12 apostles, “hey after I leave I want you guys to give this thing an image overhaul. Make sure you delete any references to suffering, obedience, discipline, responsibility, accountability, and righteousness. And for Pete’s sake dont mention anything about faithfulness to my word! People will think we’re some sort of legalism obsessed cult!”

Well its almost as if that sentiment leads off the New Testament. McCracken blasts pastors and leaders for using every gimmick, trick, fad, techno-wizbang and buzzwords they possibly can in order to be seen as “attractive”. Oh and they add a generous helping of sex talk to be seen as real edgy. It reminds me of that emergent church foolishness that keeps trying to gain a foothold.

Why not just do what Jesus (the founder and head of the church) said do? Here’s a refresher course in case its been forgotten.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:16-20

But observers say the shindiggin aint workin. People with problems want real Godly solutions, not toys, games and funsy words. People are not  pre-k children to be entertained into oblivion.

In his book, “The Courage to Be Protestant,” David Wells writes:”The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God.

“And the further irony,” he adds, “is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them.”

If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that “cool Christianity” is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real.

This kind of stuff is only going to produce more false converts and fuel hostility at the church when they realize they’ve been sold a bag of tricks.

Read the whole story.



10 thoughts on “Contemporary churchianity: kool foolz can drool

  1. People of God: Unless we are willing to build and sustain the church the way God has designed it and which is via the unction and power of the Holy Spirit, nothing will occur other than a lot of sweat and hype.
    Unless we get back to a sound reading of the Word of God and prayer as to the vision that God has for his church (which is already in the Word of God), we are stumbling around trying to catch a hummingbird with a thimble. Good luck!
    The church is antsy because people are leaving it. They are leaving because [1] they were not of us to begin with and [2] we
    have not presented the entire Word of God to them without a lot of flim flam and [3] they are free will agents “doing their thing” and want no part of servanthood and being obedient to the Lordship of Jesus.
    Follow God’s plan to build His church and quit stressing on church growth programs and being a center of entertainment.
    The Body of Christ is not for everyone. You can not convince anyone to partake. It is the Holy Spirit that draws people to God.
    Our duty? Present the full gospel with no reductions or apologies
    and let Christ live in you. It is not a numbers game. God is not
    seeking out mega churches to fill with his glory. He is seeking out believers who worship him in spirit and in truth.
    God’s word will go out and it will not return without accomplishing what it is suppose to do and that is to convict men and women and boys and girls of sin and to bring them into a right relationship with God the Father by Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Church…contend for the faith and let God be God!

  2. Notable mentions go out to TBN, The Word Network, TD Jakes, Madea, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Toby Mac and Jars of Clay ect. They pushed this with their agenda to make a dollar. Now Pastors are trying to display this as the true Gospel and get $$$$$.

    Those that seek to live according to the will of YHWH the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob are a counter culture and always has been. We are dead set against the world powers and the world is suppose to HATE us for His names sake.

  3. These are the days of the Caspar Milquetoast, lukewarm and meh? My brother, I was sitting on this story to blog it later (but all that Paula White / Benny Hinn ballyhoo had me occupied) and I’m not now. Great summation to a terrible pandemic in the Church.

    Jesus doesn’t need the overhaul… just how his people approach him does.


  4. scrive, I think you should go ahead and hit it. I love your pov on these kinds of stories. Send me a trackback 🙂

  5. If the gospel is not the power unto salvation for those who believe then we are wasting our time.

    When you add to the gospel you cheapen it and the method and those using the method usually become idols. As has been said, this is a recipe for many false converts.

  6. Yall hit the nail right on the head. These people are trying to be like the megas and are going to go right down with the megas. They better remember that Jesus is Lord and that God is sitting on the throne and is going to stay there and will not share His glory with anyone before it’s too late for them.

  7. I recently subscribed to John MacArthur’s mailings, and just today I received a letter from his ministry. Dr. MacArthur’s statement in this letter fits perfectly for this article. Before I write it, let me input my own opinion & say that while I don’t find anything inherently wrong with some of the ways that some congregations are trying to reach both young people and those who aren’t hurrying to come hear about the Lord, where these leaders are placing their hope is evident to me, and it’s not in the Word of God – it’s in the creative juices of men. No need for that.

    “We’re not interested in building a ministry empire or winning earthly accolades. We’re not catering to the interests of specific social groups. And we don’t look for ways to shoehorn pop culture into our teaching to make God’s Word seem more relevant to young people or fringe audiences. We have supreme confidence in the Word of God to convict, instruct, and transform. We simply want to preach the truth clearly and accurately to whomever will listen.
    Sadly, these days that is becoming more and more rare. The conventional wisdom in these postmodern times encourages people to view God’s Word as just one more alternative worldview in a sea of possibilities – less than authoritative, not always applicable, and not necessarily true. Too many people approach Scripture as if its ambiguous or passive. They believe their own circumstances, preferences, and desires are needed to bring meaning to the Bible. They think their subjective opinions and interpretations are what make the otherwise dull, static truth relevant to their lives….God’s Word is bold, honest, and direct, cutting across the grain of popular culture. It penetrates hearts, illuminates minds, and transforms lives.”

    To all of which I say, Amen. There’s a difference between ministering in diverse ways and relying on diverse ways of bringing people into the Church. Isn’t it pretty basic to understand that it’s the Father Who draws people by His Spirit after the message of Christ is preached? We have to stop letting the bands and the drama groups and the choirs to place themselves in the position of God; He is the One Who draws. And He draws Whom He wills. “Generation gaps” mean absolutely nothing to Him and social and cultural barriers don’t exist for Him. Come on, He’s God. He will bring everyone to Him that He foreknew with or without our “help”.

  8. Gcmwatch, as a side-note, I don’t know the critera to quote someone when the quote itself is not public information. I do have the letter if it’s necessary to show that it did come from his ministry.

  9. I have a question… is RELEVANT magazine part of the Emergent Church movement? One of my friends keeps referring me to it and there are some articles that do not seem right. It’s somehow relevant in this post because we’re talking about the megas and emergent church stuff…

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