You are so depraved, you may think that this church is about you: how the total fall depends on the attraction

I cried during the last service of the church, I was not even there. I am watching it online.

One Sunday night, when I scrolled through Facebook, I stumbled upon an invitation to the live broadcast of the church. I often want to know, um, what did they do on Sunday? So, curious, I click and adjust.

Thirty minutes later, I sat on the couch and wept.

If this is a movie, the director will insert * record scratches* at this moment, the protagonist will look at the camera and say something similar, I bet you want to know how I came here.

Ok, let me explain.

This special Sunday is Father’s Day, and a pair of fathers and sons preached a generous sermon to advise Dad to reach a higher standard.

When the service ended, the church tried to respect several fathers in the congregation, and they witnessed the irreparable situation of the Lord’s redemption. To this end, they ushered in a series of families on the stage. Once they reach the center stage, each member stops and stares at the camera because a person – sometimes a child, sometimes a father – holds a short poster board with a broken background: I sleep on the wheel like a dad Our father grew up in a home of abuse and divorce; I have never had a spiritual conversation with my father.

After a few seconds, everyone’s eyes were on the camera. Then, at exactly the right moment, the poster board flips and the shattering completes the whole: I finally woke up and was baptized a few years ago; taking care of us through foster care, God has shown our father how to be a fatherless Father; I finally called my father to talk about Jesus… When he died a few months later, I knew he went to heaven.

After the story tells the story, the saints recapitulate the victory of God’s grace. I thought of David’s words in Psalm 30:

You turned and mourned for me to dance;
You loose my linen
Happy to wear me
My glory can sing your praise instead of silence.
Lord, my God, I will thank you forever!

So I sat on the couch and watched the service on Facebook – I was crying.

*****

We will return to this later, but I now mention it as an example of what I want this article: how complete degeneration should focus on our ministry philosophy; how it should subvert the guiding principles of attractionism; how should it Confuse the charismatic practices of the attractive church.

This is the road map. Let’s go.

*****

The belief in total degeneration should be concentrated in our ministry philosophy.

I think I should be clear about the meaning of “completely fallen.” Simply put, complete degeneration refers to the nature of all mankind, the post-fallen state, especially we are born to save ourselves. In addition to God’s supernatural and regenerative grace work, we are all spiritually dead God – hatred – bent on ourselves and greedily satisfied with sin (Ephesians 2:3-5).

This fall is “complete,” not because we are as bad as possible, but because our badness is all-encompassing. Adolf Hitler Bitesa was more likely to commit crimes and more serious crimes, but he did not die spiritually – and she did not need much for the resurrection of God.

More simply, complete degeneration means:

We cannot save ourselves because we are already dead in sin.
We don’t want to save ourselves because we love our sins.
We will be responsible for this.

The most important problem for unbelievers is not that they are ignorant, indifferent or rudderless, but that they personally deliberately and happily resist the God who made them. Their most ruthless enemies are not the limited wisdom of life in the modern world or the burnout of life, but when they brush their teeth silently, they stare at them in the mirror. If this is true – and the Bible says it is – then the unbelievers must be concerned with the inability to escape the justice of God.

These truths should be concentrated in the ministry philosophy of each church. How could this be? Well, the most prominent thing is that such a church will talk about human sin and God’s anger clearly and regularly.

I have heard of some pastors talking about sin, as if it were just the label of our unhealthy emotions: broken, not cute, desperate, and so on. Although these labels clearly express some of the alienation effects of sin, they obscure its essence and undermine the agent and guilt of the person before the Lord. It is the language of popular psychology, not biblical anthropology.

Of course, sin is what we do – unfortunately, some people have more experience than others. But if we stop there, we have already evacuated the Bible’s teachings on this subject. why? Because no one disagrees with this. It is very easy for us to blame transfer and accusation. This is our natural, backward state: “You gave me the woman, she gave me the fruit of the tree, I ate.”

It does not require God’s work to convince someone that they are victims of the crimes of others. It also does not require God’s work to convince certain people that they have been greatly affected by the sins of others. But apart from the grace of God, it is really difficult to convince someone that they themselves are high-pressure criminals of the sins of God and others.

Therefore, the church should primarily (though not exclusively) use sin as our personal and deliberate rebellion against God, not as a social and indirect label that is given to us by others or by ourselves. They should be aware that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for sinners, not as a rudder of the rudderless man (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

I am not trying to deny the comprehensiveness of Christ’s work – he does restore the broken, loves the unlovable, and brings hope to the hopeless; yes, there is Amen! But none of them is acceptable except that Christ absorbs God’s wrath against sinners.

The belief in complete degeneration should subvert the creed of attraction.

Again, defining our terminology will help, especially since I’m a bit inclined to attach the weird suffix “-ism” to the relatively non-threatening adjective “attractive.” What is the so-called “principle” of ideology? ?

Some thought of:

Churches that are committed to attraction often do not push people away. The goal is to keep the fence around the church low to keep the church open and unlocked so that everyone can enter the church without membership.
The church dedicated to attractionism tries to please outsiders by emphasizing similarities. Their members are the world, and the Bible links the attraction of the church to its uniqueness to the world (Matthew 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12). . This commitment to similarity is why so many modern worship music is similar to ordinary stage performances. This is why so many churches have a series of sermons in film or parenting or marriage or money management – this interest is universal. This is why a family-style programming industry often thrives in attractive churches, turning them into a religious service provider to meet the needs of potential members of the surrounding community. These programs – food storage rooms, addict rehabilitation groups, divorced small groups, ESL courses – are certainly not “bad things” in a vacuum, but when tied to the attractive ministry philosophy of the boundaries between the church and the world,
The hallmark of the church that is dedicated to attractionism is that preaching tends to focus on the benefits of the gospel – happiness, improving marriage and parenting, conscience, peace of mind, etc. – at the expense of clear teaching of the gospel itself. If you have been to church for a month, and you have never heard the pastor talk about sin, God’s wrath and Christ’s alternative death, then you are likely to sit in a church that is dominated by the promise of attraction. If you hear the pastor calling people “trust Jesus” but never “repent”, then you are likely to sit in a church around the creed of attraction.

Attractionalism is not good. It is good to attract unbelievers.

Every church should attract unbelievers. In fact, 1 Corinthians 11-14 assumes that they attended our party. Whenever a church gathers together, unbelievers should not only be welcomed, but should be directly addressed; it should be their “safe place”, their way of life will be challenged, not disrespectful, they will face confrontation Instead of prejudice.

Every church wants to be attractive to those who are not saved. We seek attraction by planning our gatherings, taking into account clarity and comprehensibility (1 Cor. 11-14). We seek attraction by preaching preaching that is linked to their worldview (Acts 17). We seek to attract people through hospitality (Hebrews 13:2) and satisfaction (Matthew 25:35). We seek to say through faithfulness, God’s commission, and confidence that the knowledge of Christ is the aroma of life for others, and the death of others (2 Cor. 2:14-17).

But attractiveism requires these rather obvious and benign desires and turns them into a reason for the existence of a local church. The attractional ism narrows the order of the Bible. Attractional ism reverses the Great Commission and turns it into a command that lets people come to us – and then cuts down those parts that require patience and patience. Attracting indulgence gives priority to a biblical command – evangelism – sacrificing others – meaningful church members and discipline.

But how does complete degeneration affect these principles of attractionism? Simply put, because “no one understands; no one seeks God” (Romans 3:11). Once again, the biggest problem for mankind is not boring, but rebellion; this is not their family conflict, but their own spiritual tyranny; this is not financial mismanagement, but spiritual bankruptcy; this is not their dependence on drugs. But their fall to God.

Attractional ism buried the lede. To be sure, it is done with the best intentions under a well-intentioned calendar. But a priest who was swept away by his assumptions was like a doctor using a plastic fork for open heart surgery. No matter how well he is trained, no matter how much he hopes that this person’s pain will end, his tools and strategies are simply not enough to solve the problem.

*****

A completely degraded belief should confuse the charismatic practices of an attractive church.

Do you remember the time I cried when I was reading the church online? Ok, what makes me cry is an example of what I call “the good practice of an attractive church.” It is done perfectly with a preaching theme, using illustrations of flesh and blood to drive this.

As each family crosses the stage, as the missionaries say, look! Can do it! see! Can do it. see! It can do it.

Now, I do not hesitate to become an open opponent, even arguing in the life of his people to celebrate the work of God.

But – if I can, just for a moment – I realize that reflection is what makes me cry, maybe anyone can cry, whether it is Jewish or Greek, male or female, Democrat or Republican, God or God’s lover, Christian Or Sikhs or secular humanists.

You see, I heard a lot of things in the sermons that set this moment. I heard that being a good father is because father is vital to the child’s mental health. I heard that God is strong and you need him to help you become a good father. I have heard that there is no situation beyond salvation. Yes, Amen; Yes, Amen; Yes, there is Amen.

But do you know that I didn’t hear anything? I have not heard that my failure as a father and my own failure as a son prove my own sin. One day I will be judged by God, the creator of all things. I have not heard that this creator who owns my life and who I am responsible is also a father. Before the establishment of the world, there was a loved one who booked a person who was adopted as a son through his son Jesus Christ. I have not heard the blood of this son, the disobedient son can become the son of inheritance, the angry child can become a promising child – because of love and grace, no one can brag. I have not heard that these newly adopted sons have not yet reached the best place. Their fathers are waiting for them in glory in all their inheritance of wealth and kindness, and remain safe under the supervision of their old brothers.

In short, I did not hear the gospel.

I realized that what I saw was like the front and back photos in the noon shopping show on the noon, used to describe the changes in life without a straightforward explanation of how it happened. Impressive and even moving, but it has no gospel.

I want to make it clear that what I am not saying is: I am not saying that these special families and their stories are without gospel. I believe that each of them will owe every grace in life to the love of their Father and their Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that each of these fathers loves Jesus and knows the gospel. But in this particular church service, these “real” stories become unreal in some sense. At the risk of speaking, let me explain what I mean: these stories become a product, at a specific time, place and date to prove a concept, which is only explained by the missionaries on the stage.

The story of God has changed people’s lives to be beautiful. They advertise attractively to the world, and they inspire Christians to be happy and obedient. For example, in my church, before someone is baptized, they stand in the center and read their testimony – something different from what happened during the Father’s Day party. But this is always associated with the clear and extended expression of the gospel – whether in the sermon or in the testimony – without confusion.

*****

I am worried about what happened on this special Father’s Day, and what I am worried about every Sunday in an attractive church around the world, that people are sitting in these services and responding accurately to the way these churches pray for them. . I am worried that people will cry or laugh, or better manage their money, or stop drinking, or stop yelling at their wives – because they do not understand who Jesus is and the Christian life, because They don’t have enough reason and motivation.

In general, completely degraded people want to be better parents. They want to be better people. They want to better manage their money, stop drinking, stop looking at pornography, feel disgusted with their alienated brothers and sisters, exercise three to five times a week, and build a food chain at work through their industry and integrity.

Therefore, preaching about these things, or preaching about other general benefits of following Christ, will work. They will make a difference. But like a thumb on a thousand dollar mattress, you will see it and then it will disappear.

*****

I realized that I have now spent more than 2,500 words to express a simple point:

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