What is happening?

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We in the ICCEC hold the worship of God in very high regard and believe that real faith is more than just saying “yes” to a list of theological points. Real faith is a relationship with the Creator and Redeemer of all mankind which involves emotions and feelings and knowledge and science and the supernatural … I could go on, but I think you get my point.

But something is happening within Christianity in our day that hasn’t happened before, at least not to the present extent. People who were formerly very public leaders in faith and worship are abandoning Christianity, and they are being just as vocal about rejecting the faith as they once were about embracing it. The two most recent are Christian author Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and Hillsong songwriter Marty Sampson (God He Reigns).

Others have written on this topic far better than I can, so I ask you to read one article: “Skillet’s John Cooper on Apostasy Among Young Christian Leaders”. I have chosen this because it seems to be especially objective, coming from the lead singer for an American Christian rock band. Here are two significant quotes:

We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!)

We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.

I don’t really think this is intentional. It seems more likely that because our lives are filled to overflowing with work and commuting and activities and technology and entertainment and – you get the idea – that we look to the easiest, quickest, and most enjoyable “fix” (in the sense of a dose of a strong drug) of faith, and worship music/videos fit those criteria quite nicely. We are too often reluctant to take the time to read the Word of God, and even less willing to invest the effort to study it and meditate on it. This can even be true of clergy!

I am not saying that worship should be just a musical recitation of theology, because it should not. Worship is declaring the worth of God, and it involves the heart every bit as much as it does the head. Without heart-felt worship, faith becomes dry and sterile. But if we grow a magnificent tree of worship without a long taproot that burrows down deep into the bedrock of the Gospel, our magnificent tree will come crashing down when the gale-force winds of the world, the flesh, and the devil come howling.

What then should we do? One more quote from the article above:

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

It is time to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). It is time for each of us to dig deep into the Word and recover the hidden jewels of the faith … and keep on worshipping even as we dig.

I guarantee it’s worth the effort. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

Word of God: speak!

Non nobis Domine+

by Fr. Dana Jackson

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