Doing community counseling as I do I am confronted with women who attend a variety of churches. They mostly come from two camps: either they are fundamentalist and legalistic, or they attend a seeker-driven or feelings oriented church.
The fundamentalist/legalist counselee arrives with very clear knowledge of right and wrong. She knows very well the list of do’s and don’ts and is able to tell you what about her does not measure up to God’s requirements. She is often miserably unhappy and frustrated that she cannot “please God” and is unable to keep God’s commands no matter how much she works at it.
These ladies are such a joy to serve! Many times what they have is an overactive conscience, and a lack of understanding about grace. Once taught, these ladies really seem to go forward in freedom and rejoicing.
The counselee from the seeker driven or feelings driven church believes God loves her and has a wonderful plan for her life. She attends church all the time and is involved in small groups and ladies Bible studies. However, her faith is often very shallow and immature. Many of these ladies have prayed and asked Jesus into their heart, or they’ve walked an aisle, made a decision for Christ or done any number of other things to “get saved.” What I learn through the counseling process that many are not regenerated. They think they are, and they are often quite confused about why their lives have not changed at all.
This is what happens when church doctrine is refined by prevailing culture. This is the consequence of removing teaching on justification, regeneration, sanctification, and reconciliation from the church’s vocabulary and from the pulpit teaching. This is what happens when worship music is devoid of the theology of the old hymns, and it becomes mindless choruses that focus on how Jesus makes me feel so glad to be a Christian.
The Lord Jesus had crowds of people that surrounded Him, and according to Luke 12:1 there were so many thousands of people that they began to step on one another! They came to hear the message He was bringing them. Jesus brought truth and light into the hearts of those who followed Him. I wonder why that same message is not enough anymore for some pastors…Do they think to improve upon what God Himself thought was necessary to draw men unto Himself?
The message that Jesus taught both drew and repelled people who followed Him. There came a point in His earthly ministry where many who had followed Him started to leave because the message was no longer appealing to them. They were convicted or simply didn’t want to hear that their lifestyle was sinful, and that their hearts were deceitfully wicked. In the end, only 12 remained and He asked them if they would leave too (John 6) . He was teaching truth and truth was enough to separate those who would believe from those who would not.
It is the Word of God applied to the human heart that changes man, no one will be ordered or emoted into entering the kingdom of heaven. I fear many who expect to arrive there will be sadly surprised as to where they arrive upon taking their last breath.
Paul did not use clever words and human wisdom (1 Cor.1:17) to present Christ, just the truth. Shouldn’t the goal of church be to preach the Word in and out of season? Scripture teaches that the church met weekly for prayer and exhortation (Acts. 2:42), we ought to be doing the same.