Are you sitting in your church thinking that something is amiss? Do you think you are the only one who feels this way? Did you try to express your concerns to your pastor? Did he claim you are the only one who has come to him regarding this matter? Did he seem annoyed that you are questioning him? Did he make you feel like you had done something unbiblical by speaking with him?
Well, join the club! You are not alone. There are HUGE changes occurring in evangelical circles, and they are drawing national media attention. Time magazine just published an article on “The New Calvinism” in its March 23, 2009 issue. There are new websites and blogs written by average churchgoers who are very deeply troubled by these trends. A rise in authoritarianism and far reaching church discipline are having a detrimental impact on many congregations. When a little old lady is perp-walked out of her church for simply asking why the church she has attended for 50 years no longer has deacons, you can rest assured that something is terribly wrong in Christendom. We’ll link to the 911 call in an upcoming post.
This blog is dedicated to investigating these important faith trends. Hopefully, we will help to prepare you should these new strategies be implemented at your church. Our mission is to equip the priesthood of believers.
In the next week or so, we will elucidate a list of trends in the Christian world that we have noticed. Feel free to ask us questions or add your expertise to anything we may have overlooked. Please share this list with your Christian friends and family and ask them for their input. Once we have compiled our list, we will begin an in depth evaluation of each item.
Finally, if your pastor warns you not to read this or other blogs, tell him you are quite capable of making your own decisions. You see, they don’t trust you to use the brain your Creator has given you. Furthermore, they don’t believe the Holy Spirit can give you insight.
Today we will highlight two issues.
1. The rise of a new brand of Calvinism: This is not the Calvinism of your forefathers. This Calvinism is arrogant, often dismissive of others who do not share their extremely narrow view of Scripture. Frankly, it’s either their way or the highway! Unfortunately, this crowd may even question your salvation should you disagree with their excessively restrictive viewpoint. We’ll review the history of Calvinism and how today’s Reformed Movement is changing the face of evangelicalism.
2. The expansion of church discipline: There’s a new brand of church discipline being implemented across denominational lines. It’s not the kind of chastisement that should occur when a man leaves his wife for another woman and the elders pay him a visit. The discipline to which we refer can be used when you don’t show up at your newly mandatory small group Bible study or when you question why the pastor is building an expensive home. You might even get thrown out of your church after the pastor announces from the pulpit that you are no longer welcome. He may even call another pastor in town and tell him that you shouldn’t be allowed to join the new church because you are under “church discipline”.
We hope this whets your appetite, and we look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.