From the intellectually challenging First Things comes a tongue-in-cheek satire of both the social liberalization of mainstream denominations, as well as a barb shot at the “seeker-sensitive” church model. This is a clip of the article. I recommend you follow the via at the end to read the article in its entirety, thought the reader should be cautious in reading a more mature argument and remember the author is being satirical and not serious in his proposal, but serious and not satirical in his criticism.
Through the satire, the author has done well to aptly criticize the mis-focus of today’s church – and the attendant problems associated with focusing more on church growth than the culture-changing, faith-challenging focus of Christ as supreme over all things (indeed, even over the laws under which we consent to be governed).
As you read this entry, think about where the press for theological and social liberalism must inevitably lead the church today. Consider yourself how you and your church teeter on the edge of being culturally relevant to the detriment of being Biblically faithful.
Every now and then a new way of looking at things not only solves a problem but opens up unexpected opportunities for that one solution to lead to a whole host of related solutions. The recent decisions of the ELCA regarding homosexuality solved the problem faced by gay couples seeking church weddings. But even better, the new way of looking at the issue could solve several more perennial problems in the church with one grand innovation.
Facing our problems
What are the biggest problems, practical and theological, that Lutheran churches in America face today? I would submit the following:
—Inability to retain or reach out to young, single people, especially men. Think about it—on a typical Sunday in a typical Lutheran church, how many 28-year-old single men are sitting in the pews? How might we draw them in? What are their felt needs?
—Failure to use the gifts of the laity. Sure, it is easy to use the gifts of creative, educated, energetic, talented people. But many Christians are none of those things. Like the Little Drummer Boy, they have not much to offer. But if they sincerely, humbly, and faithfully offer whatever gifts they’ve been given, shouldn’t they expect their offering to meet the approval of their God?
—Declining revenue. Especially in a tough economy, we need new and creative ways to raise money if we’re adequately going to fund critical ministries such as feeding the hungry or blanketing Africa with condoms.
—Legalism. We can’t be a gospel-centered church with a do-this, don’t-do-that mentality. Legalism, a focus on rules and moralistic preaching have always threatened the freedom of the gospel.
—Biblicism. Too often we use selective proof-texts merely to maintain traditional opinions rather than really listening to the Spirit.
—Irrelevance. We need to address the real social needs in and of the world as it exists around us, not as it supposedly was in the 1950’s or how we might wish it were. We must face the joyful challenges of today.
—Worship without impact. Too often our worship is only a matter of words and music rather than an expression of radical freedom that encompasses the whole person.
Now imagine all those problems solved with one simple innovation. The answer: temple prostitution.
About Jeremy Dys
Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.