"The Church Will Never Be the Same"

by Bob Plunket
via The Sower, Vol. 54, No. 3, May/June, 2009.

Several years ago, Time Magazine carried an article, with this caption, "The Church Will Never Be The Same," because, they say, "The baby boomers are coming back to church." The article said among other things, "These returnees are described as traveling from church to church or faith to faith, sampling creeds shopping for a custom-made God." It said of churches, "In an effort to attract them, more and more churches are becoming customer oriented."

This reminded me of some striking parellels of hte '60s and the church in our day. I found some common denominators among those who are causing confusion in churches, including churches of Christ.

  • The boomers of the '60s were looking for highs. They could not live on the plains. They had to be on the mountain peaks. They needed a smoke, a pill, or a needle. What are you hearing today from those pulling away from the church? "We want a worship that makes us feel good or high." I might add, never mind how God may feel.
  • Another similarity in the '60s and in our day: They both dislike order. In the '60s they wanted a spontaneous life-style doing whatever made them feel good. We are hearing the same cry today in the church: "We want a spontaneous worship. We are bored with order."
  • Another similarity in the '60s and in our day: They both dislike authority. They want to do it their way. In the '60s they rebelled against parental, governmental, and religious authority. The new hermeneutic virtually eliminates apostolic authority and does away with pattern theology. Everyone does that which is right in his own eyes.
  • In the '60s they wanted to do what came naturally. Then they did not wear socks, ties, nor underwear. Their motto was:"Just hang loose." Personal freedom and comfort were their objectives. Does this remind you of today?
  • Another striking parallel is this: They tolerated everything except the established order. They would neither judge nor condemn any. Today those pulling away from the church have tolerance for virtually anything with the exception of the established church.
  • Both have the same theme. Remember in the '60s the peace sign. Truth, they said, was unattainable. Thus came consensus and situation ethics, but real peace eluded them. Today we are being told among our ranks that peace is the message. I disagree. Truth is the message. Peace is the hope.
  • Both then and now they believe love is a cure-all. But, what kind of love are they talking about "Love Sweet Love" or agape love that suffereth long and is kind...rejoices in truth (I Corinthians 13). I see the "Me" generation in both of these.

I beg those who are swept up in this movement to take another look. I beg the elders and churches and or schools who are catering to this movement to take another look before we lose the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood.