The antidote to anemic worship, if bottled, could also be the elixir for a suffering generation. My friend Shane Vander Hart posted the following article on Facebook and I appreciated the overall message in the post. You can click the following link. It’s a quick read:
A few things about this post:
1. The author, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., rightly describes the problem facing evangelicals: that they have bought into the entertainment culture of the church and are so focused on music and multi-media that the teaching of the Scriptures has taken a back seat – or been kicked out the door in many cases.
2. He makes an interesting statement:
“Thanks be to God, evangelism does take place in Christian worship. Confronted by the presentation of the gospel and the preaching of the word, sinners are drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation is presented to all.”
It’s hard to argue with that…except to discuss what is supposed to happen at “church.” Are we there to evangelize or is the purpose of our church gatherings to “equip the body/saints for the work of ministry?” (Eph. 4:12) Can you conclude from Ephesians 4 that the gathering of the saints on Sunday (or whenever the Church meets) is not for the work of the ministry itself but to equip the body of Christ for the work of the ministry?
If so, then I fully agree with Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. that evangelism often takes place when a person attends a church service and the Holy Spirit moves them to the point of salvation or repentance. I simply would postulate that this act of “evangelism” is incidental to the purpose of the gathering and is a wonderful thing that God often does in the midst of the equipping work of the church service.
3. I could not agree more with his final paragraph:
“The anemia of evangelical worship—all the music and energy aside—is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. Such preaching would confront the congregation with nothing less than the living and active word of God. That confrontation will shape the congregation as the Holy Spirit accompanies the word, opens eyes, and applies that word to human hearts.”
A church fellowship without solid expositional teaching is like a person who is never weaned from spiritual milk and refuses to mature past weekly playdates. We are created for so much more.
I hear many people who attend mega-churches, “seeker-driven churches,” “emerging churches” (does anyone still use that term?), or churches with plenty of bells and whistles and little meaningful teaching justify their choice by saying: “I feel like I’ve found a church where I finally get fed.” They are insinuating that they are getting what they need to mature as believers. Maybe.
I would argue that most choose such places to worship because we have fallen into the trap described in 2 Timothy 4. Here Paul exhorts:
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim. 4:2-5
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers must, by way of example, “preach the word,” “be watchful,” “endure afflictions,” and “do the work of an evangelist” before we can expect the Church as a whole to follow suit and fulfill its ministry.
Thank you to Dr. Mohler Jr. for hitting the nail right on the head.