Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Hollywood Captivity of the Church

The following is a guest piece from John Brentlinger.

In this year of our Lord, 2012, it might be wise to consider how far the church in America has fallen from its lofty perch as the originator of the American belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That belief in our way of life for the last three hundred and eighty years did not come lightly, or derive from the heathen, pleasure prone culture which now permeates our society.

This country had one hundred fifty years of history, before the revolution of 1776. That history was rooted in ethics, morality and Christianity. Not that anyone was perfect, as the New England Primer taught, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." But in fact, the law, government, church and society functioned as a unit, with the written Word of God as the foundation.

Matter of fact, while our superficial history books are still teaching that George Washington is the "father of our country," the truth is, John Calvin holds that esteemed position. Loraine Boettner, in his "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination," states:

Calvinism came to American in the Mayflower. pp382

Thus we see that about two thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin.
Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such a people as these. Furthermore,
these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep
religious convictions. pp383

The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Hugenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster. So intense, universal and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as, the Presbyterian Rebellion. pp383

History is eleoquent in declaring that American democracy was born of Christianity, and that that Christianity was Calvinism. The great Revolutionary conflict which resulted in the formation of the American nation, was carried out mainly by Calvinists, many of whom had been trained in the rigidly Presbyterian College at Princeton, and this nation is their gift to all liberty loving people. pp 384-385
When the Divine Son of God spoke in the synagog two thousand years ago the statement, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," he was not speaking some prosperity gospel or some self help mantra. To the religious leaders of the day he went on in the next breath to say, "If the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

The plain fact is that our form of government, our very freedom, the liberty which we enjoy as much as life and breath, comes directly the Divine son of the Divine God, and is written in our confessions of faith, and whether it is the Reformed Baptist Confession of 1689, or the Presbyterian Westminster Confession, clearly, God is the author of our American freedom among the nations of the world, as well as the author and finisher of our faith.

With that as a theological foundation for an enduring system of belief, it is clear through personal experience and through an clear view of history, that the rights of man, equality and freedom derive solely and completely from the God who created the earth and everything in it. It is a God-centered theology which perpetrates the truth that man can exist in a free country, can have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

That government of, by and for though is fast disappearing from the earth, and Abraham - - - Martin and John notwithstanding, would spin in his grave could he witness the act.

If this country was founded on a God-centered theology, and if that God-centered theology was taught as the law of the land, and if that belief caused people to lay down their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so that we could enjoy freedom, then it also may be argued that a departure from a God-centered theology would also doom the personal and corporate freedom of every person in America.

Enter the Hollywood captivity of the church. As a baby boomer, it has been in my lifetime that the local churches in America have left the clear teaching of the Word of God, long since have ceased to teach a God centered theology, and we are left today with a smarmy, corrupt, false sounding nonsense called "Christian entertainment." Hollywood has taken over our churches, our children, our youth, and most embarassingly, our "adults."

Consider this list of bona fide requests this week for work in the ministry. This is not a made up list, the following are what local churches are seeking in a pastoral role:

Worship and Arts Pastor Saturday Night Worship Leader Small Groups Pastor Media Associate
Production Director (for a quality worship experience) Praise and Worship Leader Worship Gathering Director
Creative Arts Pastor Contemporary Worship Leader Audio/visual Team Member Worship Band Leader
Next Generation Worship Pastor Media Director Contemporary Music Leader Artisan Pastor

Were John Calvin, Martin Luther, Zwingli, and Charles Spurgeon alive, they would most likely take a flame thrower to these night clubs masquerading as local churches.

Where is the need for preachers? Where are the requests for Bible teachers? Where are those people who even know what biblical exposition is, let alone have the guts to ask for it in a preacher of the gospel? Have the adults in the pew been so dumbed down, that all they are able to do is sit in the fold and go baa, baa, baa?

In most local churches heretofore thought of as "fundamental," instead of preaching, we get "worship teams." Instead of bible teaching, we get some wet behind the ears, late twenty-something prancing around the stage with a lip mike, reciting some silly mantra Wayne Dyer or Depak Chropra would be proud of, with a brief bible reference somewhere in the middle.
Preaching and bible teaching is virtually non-existent.

No real mention of sin, of duty, of Christian responsibility; absolutely no mention of the biblical duties of government, nothing but David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, Easter lilies and Christmastime goodies. Where are the Elijahs, John the Baptists, Peter and the apostles, whose mantra was: "We ought to obey God rather than man?"

How can a country that was founded on Biblical principles, continue to survive when those demanding, austere principles, based solidly on Biblical Theology - - - are not even being taught in our churches? Great God, what have we let our churches dwindle down to? We don't expect government, or schools or colleges or businesses to teach us theology. But is it asking too much for our churches to do it?

Churches in our mainline denominations are focusing on everything except the preaching and teaching of the gospel. There is everything to entertain, to soft soap, to mesmerize; everything to make churchgoers comfortable, and so we end up with a Sunday Super Bowl Party every week. The final result is that local churches now are nothing but a quick moving, exciting sexy, good looking television production.

It is the plain preaching of the gospel which is the cure for what ails this country today. Politics is not the answer, it is the problem. Republican, Democrat, Independents, or Two for Tea, politics has been getting worse since the first convention in the city of brotherly

About the only solution I know, apart from the hand of the Almighty, is an electrical blackout across the country. No electric guitars, no songs plastered on the front wall, no lip mikes, no audio/visuals -- all these places will have left is a few girls in tight clothes with some tambourines, parading on stage as a worship team. All we need now is a golden calf.

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