In a day like ours, in a society like ours, when culture demands acceptance of all beliefs and behaviors, Christians find it more challenging than ever to remain strict Biblicists. As Christ’s warnings to the churches of Revelation, and the apostolic correction of false teaching prove, nothing facing us is new. But the expectation the lost embrace that compromise is better than conflict never ceases being a temptation to believers.
The church growth movement had a reasonable idea when it proposed to eliminate unnecessary obstacles to winning the lost. That led to the reduction of crosses on and in buildings, of hymnbooks and their great hymns in worship and of in-your-face preaching accusing the unsaved as being lost to God unless they repented and were baptized for the forgiveness of sin.
The movement ignored a single truth: crosses, hymns and tough preaching didn’t pose obstacles to reaching the lost. What did was the lack of the Christ-life in people supposedly belonging to him, whether in interpersonal relationships or personal behavior. That inconsistency in Christians poses that problem. And the church-growth movement has only made that worse!
In the 1940’s and 1950’s the lack of bone-rattling change in conversion left the church with more people, but less Christ-honoring members. Which didn’t prove disadvantageous in those decades. The values that orthodox Judaism and Biblical Christianity established held a tight grip on the conscience of humanity. Even atheists and opponents accepted the core values embodied in Moses and Christ.
Then came the sixties and the beginning of an entirely new perspective from a youth culture determined to change, flout, disregard and displace existing values, particularly those declared immutable by orthodox Judaism and Biblical Christianity. –End Part II-