Monday, August 01, 2005

Church fads

Yesterday I found myself contemplating some of what PyroManiac has been writing about fads within evangelicalism, or what he has termed the "Fad-Driven® Church", as in the following:

By definition, a Fad-Driven® church cannot be a church governed by the Word of God. Those who set their direction by following the prevailing winds of change are being disobedient to the clear command of Ephesians 4:14, which instructs us not to do that.

Philip Johnson also writes:

Something seriously needs to change in order to rescue the idea of historic evangelicalism from the contemporary evangelical movement.

And here's a good place for the change to begin: A generation of preachers needs to rise up and be committed to preaching the Word, in season and out of season, and be willing to ignore the waves of silly fads that come and go and leave the church's head spinning.

While visiting a Lutheran church yesterday, and feeling far more connected to historic Christianity than I do in my Baptist church, it struck me that perhaps modern evangelicalism is inherently at risk of following every fad and wind of doctrine by our very rejection of centuries of Protestant tradition, creeds, liturgy, and means of worship. We have set ourselves up to be our own interpreters of Scripture, to seek after "freshness" and "relevance", and to look with disdain at what is timeless. It is as if we need to be consantly reinventing the wheel in how we "do church".

And, frankly, it strikes me as more than a bit arrogant.

How thankful I am to have been in church services where I have had the privilege of praying the same prayers, reciting the same creeds, and singing the same hymns as other believers the world over...for centuries. It is both humbling and glorious to experience this deeper connection to the Body of Christ. How different from the attitude within much of modern evanglicalism that criticizes liturgy as being "stale" and "rote", that scorns anything from a previous generation, and that wants desperately to be "cutting edge".

We have, I think, destroyed our foundation. We have also torn down the sturdy walls that protected us from winds of doctrine. No wonder, after rejecting the wisdom of our forefathers, that we are now victims to every new thing that sweeps through the church.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts, Rebecca! I agree that we, the Church, are more vulnerable to false doctrine because of all these "fads" that enter our churches. There are fads in "liberal" Christianity as well as fads in "conservative, fundamentalist" Christianity. Both I find to be equally dangerous.

    We don't know how to defend the scriptures anymore because we check our mind with our latest guru and allow him/her to do all the thinking for us. Being one that examines the scriptures and tests all things is now considered to be very bad when it once was an honorable thing.