Sunday, January 13, 2008

Here is a video clip of the opening song in a recent "church service" at Buckhead Church in Georgia.

Now, if you're not familiar with the song, it's called Ladies and Gentleman, by the group Saliva. The band isn't Christian. They're not even remotely spiritual. The song doesn't have any lyrics that talk about seeking truth, or offer anything of value to think about. The actual video for the song itself consists of two bikini-clad women in a boxing match who do drugs between rounds. So, what does this have to do with church? Well, I'm sure there is some high theological bridge here that I'm missing, some obvious link to a culture soaked in nihilism that would make our church fathers proud. I've sat here for some time thinking about it, but it's not coming to me. Maybe you can help?

I'm becoming more and more alarmed at what is happening in America in the name of Jesus and under the auspices of His church. What is the price we pay to make the gospel "relevant?" A couple web sites counting that cost is A Little Leaven and CampOnThis.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that you show this. I'm in the process of reading the whole Bible for the first time, and in recent reading in I Corinthians 2, I read something that set me straight on what I thought was an acceptable approach to reaching people in this day and age.

I've watched Joel Osteen for years now, and enjoyed his sermons and defended him against detractors and such. However, the Bible does make it clear on how God's word should be taught, and, based on the following, I now do think that God's word watered down is not God's word.

I Corinthians 2

1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, EXPRESSING SPIRITUAL TRUTHS IN SPIRTUAL WORDS.

So, will non-believers listen to that powerful truth?:

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.


I Corinthians 3

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.


Am I bringing this up out of context? It seems to apply and be clear in how pastors should preach and churches should be built.


Anonymous said...

That is awesome, Tom. And no, I don't think you are bringing those verses up out of context at all. I think you hit the nail on the head.

I definitely agree with you about Osteen, though I have been leery of him for some time now. Just compare his words to those of Paul (as you have done here), or even Christ, and you see something very different.

1 Cor 2:4 is convicting to me, I wish you hadn't brought it up. :) It is not pleasant when I ask myself when I preach/teach:

(1) Do I enjoy my own words and the response they elicit?

(2) Or instead, am I actually teaching with a "demonstration of the Spirit's power?"

I'd rather not answer those questions, thank you very much.

Thanks, Tom.

Jared said...

Jerry, I am actually a member at Buckhead Church and was there for this particular service that is shown in the video. By simply looking at an intro production, I can see how it would seem like Buckhead Church might just be a watered down church that will do anything to attract people. It could be nothing further from the truth. To give you a background, this song was a kick-off to a series called "Illusions". So all it was basically doing was setting the stage in saying how we so often times live our lives as simply a "Show", projecting an image contrary to who we really are on the inside. Believe me, this isn't a normal thing for every service or series. It was used to make a point. The message was actually about removing our lives from the shadows and the "show" so that we can experience true life change and true reality in Christ. The Bible and truth are taught at Buckhead and Northpoint Church. It's not watered down, but it is taught in ways that can truly be applicable to our lives. If you don't believe me, visit the Buckhead or Northpoint Church website and listen to some of Andy Stanley's messages. Knowing many of the people on staff at Buckhead Church, the heart of this place is to reach and impact the communities in which they reside for the complete amplification of the glory of God. And if you ask me, I've seen too many lives restored and changed in Christ to argue otherwise.
You should come see us sometime!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jared -

Thanks for stopping by (though I must admit, I'm a bit perplexed how you actually came across my blog, it's not like it burns up the charts. :)

Anyway, I appreciate what you are saying, and what your church is attempting to do. I don't need to visit your church, I've already been there. Not Buckhead, specifically, but one just like it. In fact, I even quit my job to become a full-time assistant pastor at this church. Your post sounds very much like something I would have written during that season of my life.

But, in the end, I was simply unable to reconcile the hoops we jumped through to cater to people's felt needs. It clouded our judgment, and we ended up playing some songs, and showing some movie clips, that simply did not glorify God and had no place in a church service. We justified it by constantly touting the changed lives and the number of baptisms. But I couldn't ignore the lack of long-term growth and the lack of depth that resulted from always tickling their ears without asking them to count the cost. So when I see a song such as Ladies and Gentleman played in a church service, regardless of the good intentions, it strikes me as a misguided attempt to be relevant, when such devices are not only unnecessary, but dangerous.

I have no doubt that God is doing good things at your church, nor do I doubt the sincerity of any member or anyone on your staff. God chooses to do His good work wherever He will, often in spite of our best efforts. I just have turned the corner a bit, and now believe the best point we can make to our congregations is to model how we worship Christ, how we conduct ourselves, and show wisdom in what we bring into a church service.

God bless.