Church Is Not Like It Used To Be

by Kent Heaton

Going to church is not like it used to be. Church services have turned into places of entertainment and frolic and high pitched computer generated displays of excitement, energy and temporal feelings of self worth. Auditoriums are filled with choral groups arrayed in splashing displays of sparkling gowns with sound systems that generate twenty-seven million decibels of sound reverberating through the expanse of overflow crowds riveted with spiritual fervor. Bands fill the sanctuary with guitars, drums, brass, string and a host of instruments gauged with the onslaught of entertaining the masses. Power enthusiasm is the order of worship.

Going to church is not like it used to be. Church services have turned into places where you can “come as you are.” The dress code for worship is whatever makes one comfortable. Bare feet are now acceptable, shorts and tee-shirts and casual apparel as if one is going to the ball park, fishing or relaxing around the house. Church services are created to be as “dressed down” as possible.

Going to church is not like it used to be. Church services have turned into places of social fellowship where one can find spaghetti, cake, hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, sweet tea, pies, fruitcakes and pizza. The incense of coffee wafts through the halls with enticing appeal to doughnuts and sweet rolls. Crowds are appealed to through conversion of the stomach with fork in hand.

Going to church is not like it used to be. Church services have turned into places where preaching the Bible is replaced with preaching the “feel good about yourself and no one sins anymore” kind of sophistry lacking conviction and devotion on any level. The grit of scripture is replaced with a veneer of soothing enticements to indulge the peaceful hearts filled to the brim with worldliness and covetousness.

In the days of Jeroboam king of Judah, "the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem’” (I Kings 12:28). What Jeroboam was afraid of was the people of the Northern tribes would go to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple, their hearts would turn against him and the people would rise up and kill him. To keep the people under his rule, he set up two calves of gold in Bethel and Dan for them to worship. It became convenient and more appealing to the people. Who wants to trudge all the way to Jerusalem? This religion of ease was to make the people happy and enjoy worship to “God.” How convenient they would not have to be bothered by anything as tedious as going all the way to Jerusalem. They wanted to enjoy life and have fun and be entertained.

The spirit of Jeroboam abounds today in modern religion. Everyone wants to have things convenient for them. Power enthusiasm, come-as-you-are dress codes, food in abundance and feel good religion has turned the Bible into nothing more than a dusty library of sixty-six books out of date and out of time with modern man. Leaving the Bible, modern religion worships at the altars of Bethel and Dan. We need prophets like Ahijah who will declare the pure message of God (I Kings 14). Anything less is rebellion.

But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel” (Jeremiah 7:12).

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven” (Matthew 7:21).