Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cultural relevance vs. Christian conservatism.

One CTV news report today focused on how a church in Moncton, NB was trying to be “culturally relevant” in their community by holding a heavy metal concert for the youth. Although I understand that they are trying to draw the youth into the church, what does it matter if you draw them in with worldly enticements?

What point is there to draw them into the church by worldly offerings and throw a few minutes of God at deaf ears? Do you really think it matters to kids if they have to sit through a few minutes of “religious stuff” to get what they want? In a word, no! Instead of a house of worship this church was turned into a house of the world; and instead of presenting God to these youths in an appropriate manner by the church’s actions they told them that their selfish desires were acceptable.

In today’s youth culture which includes bad parenting, over stimulation by media sources and intense peer pressures, I understand how some might see this as a justifiable action to get the youth into the church. But just getting them in is not enough. Yes, I agree that kids need to realize that they are accepted as they are but just accepting them without mentoring or discipling is a waste of time and energy. For a quick analogy it’s like throwing the jack and tire iron at a flat tire and expecting it to fix itself.

I also have issues with defiling a house of worship with something as obviously anti-Christian as heavy metal music. Look at Christ’s example of righteous anger at the money changers; it’s not much different than when you allow music designed to balk at traditional religious morals (it was created to antagonize parents and promote and proselytize a worldly set of immoral values). The church isn’t here to give people their worldly desires, what it is here to do is teach people about God. I’m not saying this can’t be fun and exciting but to be effective for God it can’t conform (through acceptance or even encouragement of secular desires) to a fallen world.

This speaks directly to the teachings that youth pastors are being taught in Bible school, which I feel are become far too liberal in their attempts to “reach” the youth. There is no substitute for sound doctrine and good theology, and I feel that the latest crop of youth pastors are concentrating too much on fluff ministries that are more acceptable to the secular masses. Showing youth motorcycle stunts in a church parking lot before this concert was also irresponsible and unacceptable; it just goes to even further encourage them in worldly behaviour which in this case is very dangerous. This youth pastor in particular even admitted that he wasn’t there to “convert you to my religion”, so I have to ask what was he there to do? Was he just there to enjoy the concert too? Was he there to do anything for God? Mark Moore (loosely titled youth pastor) even went so far as to say "Jesus Christ loves you. He does not care what you've done,", but if Christ doesn’t care what we’ve done why did He have to come to save us from our sins? This is not only bad theology; it is unscriptural and ineffective evangelism. Moore also said "It's easy to be an arm-chair critic and sit at home if you're 40 or 50, and say, 'I can't believe this is happening,”, but it shouldn’t be (and isn’t) that I can’t believe it’s happening but rather that it is unacceptable no matter what age you are. This is just another attempt to erode Christian values with a justification of reaching today’s youth. It is yet another current trend in the church to offer the world where we should rather be a “light in the world” (Matthew 5:16, Luke 1:79, Eph 5:8) set apart from it. The Ten Commandments are not all there is to being a Christian, and if that’s how you are living you are forgetting (or discounting) salvation and repentance; the only way to heaven.

“Culturally relevant” does not have to mean culturally accepting, or even worldly (culturally) encouraging; there are many verses that tell us that the world will hate us and God’s feelings towards those “of the world”, so we need to be careful of the message we are sending the youth. Remember we are to bring a message contrary to worldly views, values and desires, so to encourage and accept those things in a house of the Lord is unacceptable. (1 John 2:15-16, John 15:19, 1 John 4:5). 1 John 4:1 specifically tells us to be careful of false prophets, and 2 Peter 2:1 warns us of false teachers. If you’re preaching or teaching it, you should make very certain that it lines up with the Word of God and not just your theology based on your desires and interests.

Bob

3 comments:

Heather said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

You said, "Yes, I agree that kids need to realize that they are accepted as they are but just accepting them without mentoring or discipling is a waste of time and energy"

Please tell me that you're kidding....

Religious piety, my man...

Bob said...

Anonymous,

I'm not sure that you understand piety, but it isn't a bad thing. (dutifulness in religion, devoutness, conventional belief or standard, to give a couple definitions.) But that's really not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about actually helping kids grow and with help from those around them grow into adults with moral character. You can't do this by telling kids that anything they do is ok. It's about coming alongside kids with quality morals and passing them on, not just throwing a smattering of God at them and hoping that it sinks in.

This is not just limited to Church, in a broader scale I am hoping people see that raising their own children is more important than letting them slide through the cracks without supervision.

Without proper instruction kids don't grow up with morals and values that will strengthen society. It is especially important for the church and it's leaders to pick up what bad parenting has let fall. And any church that is has such obviously bad doctrine concerning kids needs a wake up call.