How many times did you get saved last Wednesday at Prayer Meeting? Four? Five? Did you raise your hand and pray in your heart along with the swaying ululating figure before you? Or did you peek around and wonder who in the world he saw, because there weren’t any hands up?
Did you walk the aisle, perhaps, while the masses around you sweated through verse after verse of “Just As I Am,” each fervently praying that someone would cave and get saved, hopefully thus ending their suffering.
Who exactly is the worship service geared towards anyways? What’s the point? Services, beginning with the Great Awakenings and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” up until modern times, have been all about crushing the worshiper under the weight of his own inadequacy.
Which is necessary sometimes. We need to be reminded of our sin.
But why do we need to be reminded?
Because we have been forgiven.
Why do we worship?
Because of God’s Love in sending His Son to bring salvation.
Who is worship for?
For the people of God, who already have been saved. Our worship brings us life, it is our sustenance. We receive strength to carry on, and it is Holy Communion with our Lord.
“Feed my sheep.”
In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd did not leave the 99 to starve: otherwise, the gain of 1 sheep would have been an insignificant one over the loss of 99 others.
Worship is the feeding of the Sheep. If you are constantly looking for new sheep, the ones you have will wither away.
We do need to remember our sins, but immediately following, we need to be reminded that those sins are now washed clean. The church is a place for us to worship and be served by God.
Now, mission work is a huge part of the Christian walk. After all, it is the parting command of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But why do we need to do mission work on those who have already believed and trusted in Christ? Dispensationalist preachers consider it a wasted revival if at least four people are not re-saved (and often re-baptised).
There are two main consequences of this kind of thinking:
- The conversion experience takes on a life of its own. Of course, there are many people who have genuine conversion experiences; but the majority of people to which this post applies have been Christians since birth or early memory. Yet often they wait to be baptized, waiting for that “special call,” which may or may not come. There’s a host of baptismal problems here, but the applications as it applies to hyperevangelism is that the entire focus of the modern dispensational church is on inducing this moment through various means.
- People begin to doubt their salvation. Rather than reveling in the freedom which Christ brings, they panic at every little thing, fearing contamination. This has led to the classic images of secluded homeschoolers and stuffy conservative Christians. Cleanliness flows from Christ: He cannot become dirty. He “infects” evil with good, rather than the other way around. And yet the constant barrage of “repent or die,” with little love spoken of, creates an atmosphere of Big Man in the Sky who would love nothing better than to crush you the second you violate the smallest commandment. Christ is usually still seen as the bringer of Love, but the Father…the Father is a different story.
The point: Americanism has become so focused on bringing new sheep into the fold that it not only neglects the sheep they already have, they insist on bringing in sheep that already are in the fold.
Besides violating a standard law of physics which states no two objects can occupy the same space, this policy will kill the sheep. Hence the abominable state of Biblical knowledge and lack of walking in Christ the Way.
Preach the gospel to the unbelieving world. Bring many to Christ. Then feed them with the Bread and teach them to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. In that order.
Recommended reading: Jeff Meyers – The Lord’s Service; James Jordan – The Liturgy Trap