When the Church Becomes Like the World

Dr. John MacArthur released Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World in 1993 but its message is just as applicable 14 years later:

Traditional methodology – most notably preaching – is being discarded or downplayed in favor of newer means, such as drama, dance, comedy, variety, side-show histironics, pop-psychology, and other entertainment forms. The new methods supposedly are more “effective” – that is, they draw a bigger crowd. And since for many the chief criterion for gauging the success of a church has become attendance figures, whatever pulls in the most people is accepted without critical analysis as good. That is pragmatism.

Perhaps the most visible signs of pragmatism are seen in the convulsive changes that have revolutionized the church worship service in the past decade. Some of evangelicalism’s largest and most influential churches now boast Sunday services that are designed purposely to be more rollicking than reverent.

Even worse, theology now takes a back seat to methodology

Churches are allowing drama, music, recreation, entertainment, self-help programs, and similar enterprises to eclipse tradtional Sunday worship and fellowship. In fact, everything seems to be in fashion in the church today except biblical preaching. The new pragmatism sees preaching – particularly expository preaching – as passe. Plainly declaring the truth of God’s Word is regarded as unsophisticated, offensive, and utterly ineffective. We’re now told that we can get better results by first amusing people or giving them success tips and pop-psychology, thus wooing them into the fold. Once they feel comfortable, they’ll be ready to receive biblical truth in small diluted doses