The Traditional vs. the Contemporary

Church used to be about preaching about a literal Heaven, a literal Hell, sin and repentance. Hellfire and brimstone came from that pulpit! That pastor, that shepherd, did what a shepherd was supposed to do, keep his sheep together and in line, and when one strayed, that pastor went after the one, and brought it back to the fold.

They now refer to that church as the “church of sit down and shut up.” Why? Because the service is very regimented, people are to sit down, shut up, and listen.

Now, we have churches that cater to culture. Gone are the piano and organ, the hymnals and traditional hymns. We’ve ceded that to overhead projectors, drums, rock and rap concerts. Pastors are no longer preaching the Word, they’re more interested in coming up with messages and more programs to bring in more people and “grow the church” – and becoming “relevant”.

This is known as the “Progressive Church”. Progress by catering to the world and culture is the key to reaching others.

Then there are those that bring in the good parts of both camps. There’s a place for a structured service and a place for overhead projectors and drums.

The problem comes in when the traditional, “shut up and sit down” church starts yielding to legalism, or creating cliques and not welcoming to new people or turning their backs on those they feel are undeserving of their attention, and the progressive church wants so much to become a mega church, they want to cater to everybody and everything. Their attention is turned away from the Word of God, Scripture and salvation.

I’ve seen both – I’ve been involved in both. I’m not crazy about either one, but if I had to choose one, I’d have to go with the first. However, I don’t see anything wrong with incorporating technology into the service.

Overhead projectors can do more than just show music lyrics – they can show Christ centered programming such as The Chosen to those who may not have access to it, or who may not know of this programming. They can show videos of church activities such as children’s programs or cleanup days. I’ve done both. They inform of things happening in the church.

Praise and worship teams can be extraordinarily effective, if – and this is a big “if” – the music glorifies Jesus. So much of the Praise and Worship music used today praises and worships a generic “he” – who is that?

Yeah, I can hear it now, “It’s Christian, it’s God”. Of course it’s God, but which one? I may be picking nits here, but if you’re worshiping Jesus, it would be nice to be specific and use His name! For all I know, they could be singing the same song down in the local mosque to Allah!

This is why I like traditional hymns and southern gospel – there’s no mistaking who you’re worshiping and praising – Jesus.

Hey, drop in on a synagogue on a Saturday morning, and there’s no mistaking that the worship is to Adonai, not Allah. The problem here is that Jews are forbidden from saying the name of God, Yahveh (yes, Yah-vay, there’s no letter “W” in Hebrew) – they’ll never say that name. The Pharisees strike again.

We must never be ashamed as to who we’re worshiping, use the name of Jesus! The devil flees at that name. If you want to ensure that the service is free of the devil, use the name of Jesus, and use it frequently.

I remember a time walking down a street in New York and a man was walking toward me was mumbling to himself I was led to say to him “Jesus loves you, and wants you.” The look in this man’s eyes was demonic, and the words he uttered! He ran as fast as he could at the very name of Jesus. I wasn’t equipped to do deliverance at the time, but he ran, because he knew that Jesus was in me.

And when it comes to the preaching – we are to preach forcefully and boldly. Some will not care to hear what we have to say, but if you can back up your words with scripture, used in context, then their complaints are nothing more than Holy Spirit conviction.

I was publicly rebuked this week on Facebook, on my stance on how God will take His hand away from any nation that strays away from His commandments. Scripture is rife with examples, especially Israel – when they strayed, he came down them, and on several occasions, quite hard.

“But, but, He’s a loving God – he’d never do this to us. I mean, this isn’t the Old Testament anymore, it’s a different culture today.”

There’s that word, culture.

I know for a fact that this person goes to a fully contemporary church, and if this is being preached, then the teacher, (the title of preacher is undeserved) should be relieved of the pulpit and removed.

I had to block another, not because of their disagreement, I can deal with that, but I will not tolerate disrespect. If I have a problem with you, I will address you personally, however I don’t need to hear “yeah, right” from anyone I tell that. That’s disrespectful and earns you an instant block.

(The Bible says to warn once, then twice, then put them out – I fully subscribe to this.)

Yes, the culture of the first century, or even 6,000 years ago, is different from today, but a lot of the same stuff is going on.

Back then, they built actual idols to Baal and Molech, and sacrificed their babies on a physical altar. They had sexual relations during their worship.

Today, we sacrifice our babies, and the altar is Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.

We have clergy people sexually assaulting minors and using their authority to abuse others in the church. You have pastors, and personally know a few, that have their wives in the first pew, and their girlfriends sitting just a few feet down!

Kids are having sex in junior high and high school, for crying out loud! They see it on television and in movies – it’s cool.

What’s the difference? Culture, nothing more.

Preaching or praise and worship to culture have no place in the church.

Why are we not preaching against premarital sex, cohabitation before marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, and other cultural sins? Because it’s uncomfortable, and goes against the culture, so many pastors just steer away from these subjects.

A real preacher boldly preaches against it and calls it what it is, sin, and calls for repentance!

He doesn’t have his wife and the one he’s shtupping (Yiddish word for the girlfriend he’s sleeping with on the side) in the first row!

My wife will kill me for using that word, but sometimes we need to wake people by shocking the senses sometimes. I’m sure I just shocked a few.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, God is a loving God, but God is also a Holy God. God does not dwell where there is unholiness. To preach the first part of this, and not emphasize the second is to preach error. God never mixes truth with error – never!

I can hear it now – how can you criticize us? We’ve grown much faster than most churches around here, we must be doing something right.

Great, but what cost? You might have hundreds or thousands, and the offering plate may be overflowing. Again, that’s great, but what’s your message? Did you compromise anything, especially the Word of God, to get there?

Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. The point of that parable had to do with Christ’s coming again – verse 8, “I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Yes, Jesus will bring justice to those who need it, but He began the question, when He comes, will He find faith on earth?

What are you preaching, preacher? Are you preaching that God is all peaches and cream? Are you preaching that God’s here as our personal genie to give us our “best life now,” as one famous television preacher titled one his books?

Or … are you preaching truth to your flock – that Jesus is coming again, to meet us in the air, and that time could be anytime, and the time is now to repent, and surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Because as of now, Jesus is going to find very little faith on this earth.

Matthew 7:13-14 is the prophecy by Jesus that fewer people than you might think will be getting into Heaven…

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

This means that we’re to to go through that narrow gate – the one that few will go through. The one that requires total surrender to Jesus. The alternative is the broad gate, the big one that most will go through, and that only leads to eternal torment and damnation.

Hey, those are Jesus’ words, not mine – and preacher, if you’re not driving this home, and forcefully – yield your pulpit to someone who will, because you’re unfit to be there.

And if you’re attending a church where this isn’t being preached, where Jesus isn’t being glorified – just a generic “him” – run, and finds church that does.

I’m sorry if I offended anyone – actually, I’m not. That’s conviction of the Holy Spirit coming on you. You should listen.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t manifest Himself by causing you to faint, or cluck like a chicken, or writhe on the floor like a snake or someone with epilepsy, He convicts when necessary, He points us in the direction we need to go.

Bucking in anger at the messenger gets you nowhere. Heeding the message is probably what you need to hear.

Friends, we are truly living in the age of compromise and deception. Jesus is coming sooner than we think!

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