AMERICAN CHURCHES AND SHOW BUSINESS
Stanley Hauerwas is a Methodist theologian at Duke University Divinity School. He is an insightful writer on Christianity and cultural issues. In a recent article entitled “The End of American Protestantism,” Hauerwas writes this about American Christianity: “More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go.”
Hauerwas’ theory that American Protestants do little to challenge the popular secular assumptions of the day is especially evident in the worship services of many churches. I recently watched one well known mega-church pastor who, while sharing the stage with two body builders, cracked jokes and entertained the audience like a comedian. He seemed more like P. T. Barnum than a pastor. Another large church recently had two successive Sundays with the “sermon” being delivered by guest speakers who were self-help gurus. The sermons were light-weight, bouncy, and pretty much devoid of biblical exposition.
The Bible calls us to something higher. The Psalms call us to weighty worship. The Epistles call us to weighty preaching. The reason is very simple: God is weighty. God is holy. In fact, we’re told in Isaiah that God is holy, holy, holy! That’s what’s missing in so much of American Christianity. Our songs and preaching should be rooted in the authority of Scripture, not in the latest cultural pop trends. This is the high and lofty vision for worship that God calls His people to in the pages of the Bible.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor