Mocking God and Re-Inventing the Church
Berit ~ April 12, 2015
Forget the old narrow way that leads to Truth and Life in Christ. Forget solid Bible teaching and "the offense of the cross." To win the masses "for Christ", the contemporary church must be re-cloaked in a more permissive and appealing image. It must be marketed to the world as "a safe place," purged of the old Christian mindset that stirred conviction of sin and a longing to separate from the corruptions of the world. Consequently many church-leaders now choose to imagine a new feel-good church stripped of offense -- one that the world can share and claim as its own.
Testing the New Spirituality
In these changing times, many pastors seek ways to slow or stop the spreading exodus from their traditional churches. They are eager to trade Biblical sermons and sobering warnings for a measure of fun and laughter. And that's exactly what our church did the week after Easter. The bulletin labeled it "Liturgical Helps for Holy Humor Sunday." Ponder this supposedly "entertaining humor" that was anything but holy:
Music Leader: "This is the day to laugh: What did the garden variety pastor say to the people?"
People: "Lettuce pray."
Music Leader: "How many choir directors does it take to change a light bulb?"
People: "No one knows, because no one ever watches the director...."
Music Leader: "What is the greatest joke ever?"
People: "The one God played on Death on Easter morning!"
According to the bulletin, "God was still Laughing." The church members would be treated to "Theology through Jokes" - or as the bulletin labeled it: "Liturgical Helps for Holy Humor Sunday." I don't think my Lord was pleased to be the center of such ridicule!
The first of the "Holy Humor Hymns" was labeled “Take Time to be Funny,” replacing the precious old hymn: "Take Time to be Holy." Ponder the words and the message:
"Take time to be funny, rejoice in the Lord.Let laughter explode, and have fun with God’s Word...While serious times will find you on your wayKeep joy in your pocket to brighten each day."
The next two verses began with these unholy suggestions: "Take time to be silly, it’s good for the soul" and "For humor is holy, it sanctifies life." Neither statement is true! From a Biblical perspective, such silliness is contrary to God's Word, and the supposed "humor" is neither holy nor edifying. But apparently some found it funny -- and therefore acceptable. Here are some more examples:
"Brethren we have met to worship and enjoy a laugh or two.
If you're seeking dismal fellowship this is not the place for you.
When you giggle, smirk and chuckle, joy will fill this holy place
Take the risk of forming wrinkles, let elation crease your face."
"Jesus set the great example telling us to laugh and love."
"What's the point of being solemn on our way to heaven above?..."
Perhaps the music leader forgot that some people will fail to enter God's wonderful heaven!
Next on the agenda was a collection of silly jokes. Apparently they fit the planned context, but -- like the songs above -- they ridicule God and His guidelines. These foolish attempts to present us with a silly, imaginary "God" are actually mocking our Holy Lord!
"Snickering at the feeble attempts of the evil one,
You showed us how to resist temptation.
Giggling at sin's desperate desire to hold on to us,
You released us by your love.
Howling with laughter at death's foolish belief that the tomb could hold you,
you burst forth into the light as sun, moon and the stars pealed with joy -- laughing Jesus!"
Finally, here is a short and true statement from Pastor Dave's sermon -- a needed warning for lukewarm "christians":
"We who have been in church for a long time have heard this message so many times over and over that it loses its power over time. ...we're not impressed any more... that Jesus died and rose again."
The Solution: Abiding in Christ
Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
Our wonderful Lord is my eternal King, my Shepherd, my Helper, and my dearest Friend! He is always with me, encouraging and guiding me, teaching and correcting me. He is my Shepherd and I am His sheep! How great He is!!! And how blessed we are to belong to Him!
But today, His precious Bible bring us a stark warning -- one that we had better heed! Remember God's warning to Israel as His people settled in their new land -- a warning that would be repeated again and again throughout His Word and history:
"Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died.... When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
"Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods ...and they provoked the Lord to anger. ... So... He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around..." Judges 2:8,10-14.
For those who keep up with the sobering news and the rising threats facing our nation today, we have a choice. Will we foolishly ignore the warnings, or will we humbly turn to Him in prayer, humility and repentance? God's precious Word doesn't lie, and His warnings now as always call for a response from His people. History shows the consequences of ignoring His call and following our own foolish inclinations!
As His disciple, I must follow His narrow and rocky way. But the Lord is my Shepherd and I'm never alone! What a joy it is to walk and talk with Him through the day! An old hymn summarizes the disciple's walk well:
All the way my Savior leads me
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Here by faith in Him to dwell,
For I know whate'er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well.
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