Some of the problems noted today are easily remedied. Maybe congregants just need to act friendly to newcomers and welcome them warmly. Have you ever visited a church where on one stopped to tell you welcome or take the time to chat with you for a moment? What about the more staid and dignified, yet haughty church, where members have been sitting in the same pew for years and when unwittingly a stranger sits there, they get the look that says: that's my seat? It happens and it is easy to correct, but sometimes it take a person with a little gusto to bring it up in a church meeting.
But that kind of simple little situation is not what I'm really referring to for the real problem I see is a new attitude which is taught in many seminaries and endorsed by high church leaders which results in new ministers being taught to preach a new age Christianity, one which is not based on the Gospel but one which adds a lot of social justice without Jesus included in the justice. It's the same training that changes the meaning of the Ten Commandments and even the Sermon on the Mount by modifying the characterization of Jesus Himself. Often they happen slowly and are hardly noticed, then we suddenly become aware of what has taken place and many abhor. These are those times. The scripture and the Christ do not change, however, they are beyond change for they are part of, in the case of Jesus, and inspired by, in the case of the Gospel, God Himself. How many times have you heard a person of the cloth speak of the importance of social justice without including Jesus in the discussion? There is no social justice without Jesus, it merely becomes a point of usually argumentative conjecture which wants to hear no alternative to it. It has no place in the pulpit.
Remember how children challenge parents on their rules and requirements, trying to wear them down to exhaustion to the point where they give in? If the parents stick to their guns, the children ultimately stop whining and realize what their boundaries are. When the parents give in, the children keep moving the finish line until it ultimately makes them just plain spoiled and less able to do for themselves when they grow up. Well, the same basic situation applies to the church. When we allow the Word of God and the Life of Jesus to be recreated and watered down by today's loose standards, then there is no standard. The church becomes just another wishy-washy "if it feels good, do it" organization which condones almost everything. It is indeed a very slippery slope.
I think more often than not adults are looking to God as their Father, just like the children above were looking to their parents. They want to know the limits. They want someone to guide them to show them what is expected of them. When the church sticks to its guns, with love, patience and kindness, of course, they get that need fulfilled. When it doesn't, those who want everything free and open with no consequence stick around for they get what they want, but the church becomes something much different and something that offers little of value to society. The others, the ones who wanted rules to be guided by, look for another church and the membership numbers crumble. This is happening today in so many churches across the land, yet many leaders blind their eyes and keep pushing on to their own demise.
So, what am I trying to say. First, I'll use the words of a hymn to say it. The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to teach and preach His Father's Word and ultimately sacrificing Himself so that we members of mankind were forgiven for our sins. But that entails our accepting His offer by believing in Him by faith and living for Him in the way that God created us to live. It's not a difficult concept, but difficult for us to carry out, sinners that we are. But it does not give God's permission to alter His Law, the meaning of Christ's actions on this earth, in order to serve our own selfish wishes which are sinful. That must not change and if it does, well then the Church will no longer exist. I for one am proud to be a Bible-believing Christian. How about you?