Charles Spurgeon stated this when referring to church attendance, “If you have to give a carnival to get people to come to church, then you will have to keep giving carnivals to keep them coming back.”
Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher in England the late 1800’s. Apparently he was also somewhat of a prophet. My reason for this conclusion has to do with the state of the church in the United States today. Since the beginning of the Church Growth Movement in the late 1950’s, pastors and church leaders have been pressured to do whatever it takes to facilitate an increase in church attendance.
Many of the leading voices in this church movement have adopted the business model where “the customer is always right.” Modern church models promote the same consumerism that retailers use to entice potential and repeat customers. Because people are such devout accolytes of consumerism, its tenets are easily employed so as to convince religious participants to buy into what is being sold at the carnival church.
Today, people choose a church based on what the church can do for them, rather than how they can improve the church’s ministry by using spiritual giftedness and serving sacrificially. They want a Hollywood production and a rock concert instead of the plain truth of God’s word. Many in this “First Church of Entertainment and Consumerism” are not regenerated by the confession of their sins and the power of the Holy Spirit. They come for the show.
Young hipsters or middle aged speakers attempting to be culturally relevant transform the plain truth and overall teaching of the bible into shallow psychologically based “talks.” There is no discussion of sin, hell or judgment, only conversations about being nice and the unlimited depth of grace no matter what behaviors the participants pursue.
Jesus warns of the dangers of false teachers.
“Beware of false prophets who comeguised as harmless sheep, but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.” ( Matt. 6:15-16)
God is holy, righteous and just. His word never changes. It is capable of transforming the hearts of those who who read it and apply it to their lives. How can people hear the word and be transformed if it is not preached in its context? God is not interested in nice people, he demands that those who follow him and claim to be his become holy because he is holy.
God’s word tells us what will happen to those who participate in religious activities, but are not regenerated.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord! will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” (Matt. 6-21-23).
Be careful. The gospel continues to be watered down. Plain truth is transformed into psychological blather. Ultimately each person is responsible to stand before Christ on of these days. You can use “I did not know,” as a defense.