Church is Boring?

Tozer

Religious Boredom

THAT THERE IS SOMETHING gravely wrong with evangelical Christianity today is not likely to be denied by any serious minded person acquainted with the facts. Just what is wrong is not so easy to determine.

In examining the situation myself I find nature and reason in conflict within me, for I tend by temperament to want to settle everything with a sweep of the pen. But reason advises caution; nothing is that simple, and we must be careful to distinguish cause from effect. As every doctor knows there is a wide difference between the disease and the symptoms; and every Christian knows that there is a big difference between cause and effect in the sphere of religion.

At the root of our spiritual trouble lie a number of causes and these causes have effects, but which is cause and which effect is not always known. I suspect that many things currently under attack by our evangelists and pastors (and editors, for that matter) are not the causes of our troubles but the effects of causes that lie deeper. We treat the symptoms and wonder why the patient does not get well. Or, to change the figure, we lay down a heavy fire against nothing more substantial than the cloud of dust raised by marching enemy troops long gone by.

One mark of the low state of affairs among us is religious boredom. Whether this is a thing in itself or merely a symptom of the thing, I do not know for sure, though I suspect that it is the latter. And that it is found to some degree almost everywhere among Christians is too evident to be denied.

Boredom is, of course, a state of mind resulting from trying to maintain an interest in something that holds no trace of interest for us (the boss’s jokes, say, or that lecture on the care and nurture of dahlias to which we went because we could not resist the enthusiastic urging of a friend). No one is bored by what he can in good conscience walk away from. Boredom comes when a man must try to hear with relish what for want of relish he hardly hears at all.

By this definition there is certainly much boredom in religion these days. The businessman on a Sunday morning whose mind is on golf can scarcely disguise his lack of interest in the sermon he is compelled to hear. The housewife who is unacquainted with the learned theological or philosophical jargon of the speaker; the young couple who feel a tingle of love for each other but who neither love nor know the One about whom the choir is singing-these cannot escape the low-grade mental pain we call boredom while they struggle to keep their attention focused upon the service. All these are too courteous to admit to others that they are bored and possibly too timid to admit it even to themselves, but I believe that a bit of candid confession would do us all good.

When Moses tarried in the mount, Israel became bored with the faith that sees the invisible and clamored for a god they could see and touch. And they displayed a great deal more enthusiasm for the golden calf than they did over the Lord God of Abraham. Later they tired of manna and complained against the monotony of their diet. On their petulant insistence they finally got flesh to eat, and that to their own undoing.

Those Christians who belong to the evangelical wing of the church (which I firmly believe is the only one that even approximates New Testament Christianity) have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with things invisible and eternal and have demanded and got a host of things visible and temporal to satisfy their fleshly appetites. Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.

Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, “But we are winning them!” And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no.

We are paying a frightful price for our religious boredom. And that at the moment of the world’s mortal peril. Continue reading

Lord’s Day Eight: The Trinity

Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English

Question 24
How are these articles divided?
Into three parts; the first is of God the Father, and our creation; the second of God the Son, and our redemption; the third of God the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification.

Question 25
Since there is but one only divine essence, why speakest thou of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
Because God has so revealed himself in his word, that these three distinct persons are the one only true and eternal God.

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,

1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

Genesis 1:2-3 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Isaiah 48:16 Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.

Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

1 John 5:7 For there are three that testify:

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Isaiah 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

2 Corinthians 13:13 All the saints greet you.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Historic Creeds and Confessions, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997).

Lord’s Day 2: Of the Misery of Man

Heidelberg Catechism, LORD’S DAY 2

Question 3
Whence knowest thou thy misery?
Out of the law of God.

Romans 3:20  20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Question 4
What does the law of God require of us?
Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37–40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18  18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Mark 12:30  30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Luke 10:27  27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Question 5
Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?
In no wise; for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbour.

Romans 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Ephesians 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 8:21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Romans 7:23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Question 6
Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
By no means; but God created man good, and after his own image, in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:26–27 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Colossians 3:9–10 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Ephesians 4:23–24 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Historic Creeds and Confessions, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997).

Question 2 of the Heidelberg Catechism

Question 2
How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
Three; the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.

Matthew 11:28–30  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Luke 24:46–48 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Titus 3:3–7 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

John 9:41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 10:43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Ephesians 5:8–11 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Romans 6:1-2  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:12-13 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Historic Creeds and Confessions, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997).

This Sunday at Mountain View: Happy Mother’s Day!

To all you moms, we wish you a happy mother’s day. So, where does the apostrophe go, before or after the “s”? Is it “mother’s day” as in each single mother, or “mothers’ day” belonging to all mothers as a group? I opt for the former.

On this Mother’s day, 3 of our newer children will be dedicated: Andy Walker, Abilene Willard, and Jedediah Clarke.

Our Scriptures for the day are:

Psalm 98

Acts 10:44-48

1 John 5:1-6

John 15:9-17

Sermon will be from Ephesians 4:4-6

4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

This Sunday at Mountain View, May 3rd.

First of all, thanks to all who helped get the landscaping improved today. It looks great, and we had great weather for it. Two trips to the dump (trailer full + stuff in the van) means that things look pretty cleaned up, and the old kitchen cupboards are gone.

20 years ago, Jerry M. and I installed that kitchen–it was an Ikea floor model that they sold off in auction. We wanted simple white, and while the really fancy kitchens had higher bids, we got the whole thing for $1100. Problem was, it was all metric, and Ikea was getting out of the metric kitchen sizes. So we installed the metric on one side of the kitchen, and when we needed more cabinets, non-metric was installed on the other side. At any rate, it’s all gone now. They weren’t made for the extreme use in a daycare and church setting, and were getting pretty rough.

I saw Aunt Dorothy this evening, and she may get to return to her home tomorrow! She is very happy about that–please pray for her.

Tomorrow I will be preaching Ephesians 4:1-3, a decidedly more “practical” text, but remember, God’s Word is always “practical,” because truth is practical:

1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1–3 (ESV)

 Scriptures tomorrow:

Psalm 22:25-31

Acts 8:26-40

1 John 4:7-21

John 15:1-8

 

 

This Sunday at Mountain View — April 19, 2015

Wow, the weather is fantastic! Nothing feels better than heading out to church in warm Spring weather. Our Worship starts at 11, our Bible school at 10.

We are excited to have Dan lead the worship music this Sunday, along with members of the youth. We have a good group of talented kids who play or sing almost weekly.

If you come at 10 AM, adults are watching the video series, “From Dust to Glory” by R. C. Sproul. This series is an overview of the entire Bible.

There is also a Bible class for younger children, and one for Jr/Sr high.

Scriptures for this Sunday:

Psalm 4

Acts 3:12-19

1 John 3:1-7

Luke 24:36b-48

Sermon text: Ephesians 3:8-13

Jerry M. will bring the Communion Meditation.

See you tomorrow!