Why I no longer care about Mega-Churches

I use to always think that Mega-Churches were the coolest thing!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the feel-good, relative  message that they proclaimed, with a dash of scripture, would become the thing I would start to despise.   Jesus said, that man does not eat on bread alone.  Knowing this,  It’s becoming more and more clear to me how very messed up our churches  are; together as a whole bunch who share Christian faith.  I am finding that there is allot being written by many well know pastors about how The Gospel of Jesus and the true authentic, expository teachings of the Bible are found less and less in our American churches, and how all people want now a days is what one pastor calls” a sermon to go”.  Just let me come to church, get a feel good message, O.K. I’ll even let you talk about Jesus and quote a few scriptures if you like, but don’t start convicting me, b/c I’ll be out of here, with my tithe, and I won’t come back!  You may think I am over-exaggerating a bit, but if you go over to Amazon and search around on the subject of say, church relativism, Christ-less, Christianity, mega-churches, alternative  gospel in churches  and the like, you’ll be amazed of how many book have been written on this subject.   It’s good that it is being address, but also very scary that it is such a huge problem, and very sad that this is where we seem to be going more and more.  I wonder if too, this is why so many other religions such as Islam are on the rise.  Perhaps, and this is just my opinion, is that they hold true to their roots and their traditions on what their religion was founded on; where American Churches strive to water down the gospel to a feel-good, pop-culture, relative message, so they can increase their tribe, so to speak.   I myself just picked up a book called Christ-less Christianity by Michael Horton,  and I will be sharing what I find.   It goes something like this :

From Publishers Weekly
In another screed on what’s wrong with American Christianity, theology professor Horton, of Westminster Seminary California, bemoans the slide of the American Christian church into what he, and others, call a moralistic, therapeutic deism. Drawing on studies, surveys and anecdotal evidence, Horton reaches the oft-repeated conclusion that American Christianity is self-centered rather than Christ-centered, Jesus is a life coach rather than a redeemer, and salvation is focused on therapeutic well-being. He rants against the purveyors of this watered-down Christianity–Robert Schuller, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer–but saves his most savage attack for megachurch preacher Joel Osteen, whom Horton depicts as a snake-oil salesman teaching that God is a personal shopper ready to deliver happiness and prosperity if only individuals let God know their needs. Horton reveals his lack of theological depth when he argues that ancient Gnostics saw God as no different from humans. Yet Gnosticism’s entire point is this difference. Horton regrettably offers no recommendation for the reformation of American Christianity beyond a simplistic call to let the church be defined by the Gospel rather than the laws of the market. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description
Is it possible that we have left Christ out of Christianity? Is the faith and practice of American Christians today more American than Christian? These are the provocative questions Michael Horton addresses in this thoughtful, insightful book. He argues that while we invoke the name of Christ, too often Christ and the Christ-centered gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are, in Horton’s words, “trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant.” This alternative “gospel” is a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion. It trivializes God, making him a means to our selfish ends. Horton skillfully diagnoses the problem and points to the solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation.

Now if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.   It will definitely be eye-opening to be learning more about this; and it made me ponder how this is probably very much intertwined with my recent posts on Unity in the Body of Christ.  As I started reading this book, God pointed out to me that because we are getting so relative, we are being deceived that there needs to be some type of relative/Biblical balance; but what it is really doing is making us weaker in our faith.  We can even try and go out and do the work of the Lord in our communities and do our best to meet the needs of the less fortunate; but if we don’t have our roots in what is Biblical and true, then are we well equipped to really share the Love of Christ with others if our hearts are not focused completely on God at all times?   Watering down the gospel waters down our core traditions, our core doctrine, our cor faith on a personal and church level.  I think this may be why we are getting less united and more divided too; our individualism and relativism of the Truth of Jesus is what Satan is using to distract us from learning and thirsting for The True Word of God.   It happens so suddely, we don’t even realize it sometimes.  We think we’re getting ahead, but if we were to really examine where we are in complete, continual surrender to the will of God in our life and to transform our hearts into Christ-likeness, I fear many would not be able to say much about that.  If we’re not hungering and thirsting after righteousness, then really we are dying, and Satan is winning.  Scary thought, huh?    I always think about what Tommy Tenny was trying to say in God Chasers; that people come hungry to our churches and all we end up giving them are maybe a few crumbs off the carpet. (In my own defense, I am not a fan of Tenny, but He does makes some, not all, good points in the book, God Chasers).    This thought has really made me sit back and think about the church in recent years.  I imagine that this will be a pretty interesting discussion as I post my review.  I hope that you will join me in the discussion and the learning process of this very crucialproblem that we are facing more and more in our churches.  God forgive us for selling you down the river just so we can remain comfortable in our own strength!  I also hope every pastor that preaches to a congregation will consider reading this book, and take seriously the slippery slope we are sliding down.

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9 thoughts on “Why I no longer care about Mega-Churches

  1. I agree with you. To me it comes down to teaching people to pursue an intimate relationship with God. If we truly know Him understand His love for us, then we will WANT to serve Him. It will begin to flow naturally out of us.

    Thanks for your post! Jenny

  2. Thank You Rodney! I love John Piper! I’m gonna have to post it on my blog too! I added you to my blogroll, thanks for having me on yours. God bless you my friend and brother in our Savior Jesus Christ!

  3. Yes, Robin. You go girl! There is definitely self-centeredness vs. Christ-centeredness in our churches. But Jesus said that His true sheep will only follow Him and not listen to a stranger. Jesus also told us there are wolves in sheep’s clothing. We know this is going to be. Just be alert. The line is being drawn. Who are you truly bowing down to? (this is not a question pointed to you, but to all of us)

    Very good post. Sounds like a good book. God bless!

  4. My husband and i were involved in church ministry within the “established church” (so to speak) for about 23 years. Just in the last year we have made the decision to step away from the traditional church because there are a lot of things that go on in the church among so-called Christian people that really concerns me. Not to say that i am perfect but there just doesn’t seem to be a heart after God’s word and His righteousness among alot of leaders within the church establishment anymore and because it isn’t among the leaders it is not going to be among most of the people within the church as well, because the leadership are supposed to be examples to the flock, but they are not.

    I believe God is very disappointed with what He is seeing happening within the mega churches now-a-days. I hate to say it but sometimes i wonder if Satan isn’t the one being enthroned in a lot of the mega churches instead of Jesus Christ.

    My husband and I are still ministering but just not in the so-called traditional church, in the traditional type of way. After much prayer it had came time for us to walk away from it.

    I wouldn’t encourage anyone else to do this though because this must be a personal decision after much prayer and seeking God.

    We tried to be a part of the purification from within the church but the ones in leadership were full of pride and self justification and they enjoyed their activities of sin. And there were some in leadership that were fearful of losing numbers and tithers if they spoke up against sin among the people.

    I don’t see the church establishments/congregations/as being the ones that God is going to use in the Last Days i believe it is going to be a remnant of a body of believers which is the true church and have truly made their bodies the temple of God. They will be the ones turning the world upside down once again for the glory of God! This of course is my own personal belief and opinion.

  5. Tamela,

    Thank You so much for that reply. What you say about leadership is what I am finding from more and more people that I talk to about this subject. I think some church leaders may want to do the right thing, but then like you say, they need the tithe to keep the lights on and ministries going, not to mention a paycheck. Good point too, about the losss of the fear of God. We see this in our society with more corruption and bad behavior across generational lines and gaps, but too, people see God as a go-to-guy and do not fear Him as reverent, Holy, and All Powerful. We’ve stop reveling in His absolute glory and minimized Him to someone who saves the day. Yes, Jesus wants a pure and Holy Bride and we are so disgustingly filthy I can’t imagine what He thinks. I love my church, but I too have seen relativism and the like creep in, and yes it bugs me, but I have to believe that God is still on the throne, (as one blogger put it). I’ve always told God, “I’ll go where you send me”, and He keeps telling me to stick it out where I am, so until I get a Holy Push, I will just sit tight, learn all I can, and pray for God to use me as part of the solution some day. May God Bless you and your husband as you seek to purify yourselves and bring Holy Glory To His Name!

  6. I’m glad you picked up Horton’s book. I think you’ll like it!

    Just keep in mind, this is only part 1, so don’t be discouraged if Horton doesn’t really offer an in-depth solution to the problem of Christless Christianity. He’s going to offer his solution in the second book, coming out this Fall, called “The Gospel-Driven Life”

  7. Almost exactly my thoughts…..except I won’t read Hortons book because I know it will just make me more crazy about what is happening in American Churches than I already am!
    I’m in search of trying to find a bible centered church. I currently attend one of these “lets not offend anyone by talking about the cross, sin, hell, judgement, wrath etc instead lets keep it soft so they’ll come back because after all Jesus loves us” churches and it is becoming more and more difficult to sit through the nice fluffy messages week after week.

  8. Thanks TMA for the comment on my blog. My thoughts exactly. I find myself walking a fine line at times with my church. I try and share my heart with my church staff as I feel led, but I often am left wondering what they make of it; but God has taught me to let it go and keep putting my trust in Him and not men. I have great respect for them, and know that they are working hard to move in the hearts of the congregation. They have been supportive in many ways and helped me too recently in my applying to seminary, so I don’t want to sound ungrateful, because I am not. I just want to see people transformed! I want to see ministries take off, and I want to see us going out and meeting needs not becuase we feel it’s the right thing to do, but because it burns deeply from within us! I guess perhaps I’m frustrated b/c I can only see part of the picture. I know there are many, many people that share my passion; tons of books and sites are devoted to it. I really want to be part of the solution too, and perhaps one day God will allow me to be, but for now I will continue to lay it down at the foot of the cross. By the way, do you blog or have a site? I would love to visit. God Bless, Robin

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