Conversation or Conviction?

The reason for the Jude 3 Fellowship is the fact that many churches and preachers and theologians have wittingly or unwittingly relegated the Bible to the level of a  story deigned to stimulate a conversation or a dialogue with the culture. At first glance that almost sounds noble and smart, or at the very least a clever way to engage the culture around us with a stance that says, in essence, We are no different than you, our religion is adaptable to any culture, and we are so sorry for the past generation of fundamentalists who have hurt you.

I am going to try and be as sensitive as possible in this blog. I do not hold to the increasingly popular opinion that I must use crass or vulgar language in order to show myself to be relevant. In this instance I cannot communicate the absurdity and the foolishness of what I am about to share with you without using some vulgar speech (reporting the language of the website I am citing.) Frankly I was so stunned that I didn’t believe what I was reading. And sadly this is mild compared to some websites and blogs that I refuse to cite in print.

The following is from an interview given to a local TV station in Eugene Oregon

 Pastor Says ‘Church Sucks,’ Mixes Worship With Katy Perry, Maroon 5; Tells Congregation ‘Don’t Get Your Panties in a Bunch’

A Eugene, Ore., pastor who thinks churches focus too much on sin and not enough on connecting people to God, is now trying to appeal to people who have been hurt by churches through a campaign called “Church Sucks” featuring shorter services and music by Katy Perry and Maroon 5 at his church, One Love.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-says-church-sucks-mixes-worship-with-katy-perry-maroon-5-tells-congregation-dont-get-your-panties-in-a-bunch-105212/

Note how the leader of the congregation self identifies:

“Among the differences, according to the report, are shorter services lasting just over half an hour, the mixing of modern and contemporary music from artists like Maroon 5 and Katie Perry with worship music, and a leader who is a pastor, not a preacher.”

I thought as I read this of a remark made by renowned apologist Dr. John Warwick Montgomery. (I had the privilege of taking classes from Dr. Montgomery in seminary)

“The Church will remain ineffective so long as she has as her principal spokesmen men falling all over themselves in an attempt to be relevant. Ages of faith are marked by proclamation, not dialogue.”

I am convinced that such a cavalier attitude and vulgar approach to sacred things could only take place in an environment that has first been poisoned by systematic devaluation of the Word of God. In my book, Fatal Drift Is the Church Losing its Anchor? (Which was originally titled, Why it Matters….Avoiding Shipwreck at Cape Disappointment) I set the tone for the book by stating,

During over three decades of public ministry I have seen a disturbing trend develop. As the church has become more and more secular, the Bible is becoming less and less the primary source of preaching and teaching.  The phrase ‘the Bible says’ is being replaced by phrases like, “The most recent polls suggest…” or “Oprah says” or “A recent study has shown…”

Preaching propositional truth has given way to ‘conversations’ which are designed to promote ambiguity and a studied lack of certainty. Apologetics has devolved into apologies. Without even realizing that they have done it, many preachers have actually come into agreement with an ancient enemy by mouthing, in one way or another, the same question he asked in the garden,

“And hath God truly said?”

This book represents my conviction that the abandonment of the doctrine of inerrancy of scripture has brought about a perilous situation. When I considered the title for the book, I remembered a TIME magazine cover which showed a page of The United States Constitution which was half destroyed in a paper shredder.  The title on the cover read, Does it Still Matter?

As I stared at it I thought, “That could just as easily be the first page of Genesis, and the same question could be asked of synods and seminaries, preachers and parishioners.

As we continue in the weeks and months to come, let me ask you a pointed question. Do you believe that the Bible is a merely a nice story, or do you agree with the Apostle Paul who said All Scripture is God-breathed?”  How you ultimately answer that question matters. It is all that matters

Dr. J.

 

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