The Culture Is Changing the Church!
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Summary: Jesus sent His Church into the world to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. But the opposite is happening all over America — the culture is changing the Church!
- •• Christian divorce rates have surpassed the general public! Christians have fallen for the culture’s mantra that personal fulfillment is more important than marriage vows.
- • “God wants me happy” has replaced “God wants me to be obedient and faithful to His Word”.
- •• Thousands of evangelical churches have adopted the “market-driven” approach to their cities and try to woo people in as satisfied customers. So preaching about sin, holiness, and divine judgment are avoided as being too confrontational towards society.
•• Much that passes for “worship” in contemporary churches would be difficult to distinguish from a secular rock concert!
•• The late Francis Schaeffer called this embracing of our culture “the great evangelical disaster” and said further that “the evangelical church has accommodated [itself] to the world”.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Acts 2:40-41 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
- •• Several key commands are seen in these Scriptures:
- 1) Do not be conformed to the world, to our culture.
2) Do not choose to be “friends with” the culture.
3) We are to be saved from our corrupt generation.
- •• One of two things will happen:
- 1) The Church will change the culture. Or...
2) The culture will change the Church. What I see for the most part is option #2 happening — The culture is changing the Church in America.
- • The oxymoron called the Christian Feminist movement is firmly entrenched in many denominations and thousands of churches.
• Homosexuality is routinely accepted in a growing number of American churches.
• The “sipping saints” philosophy is widespread.
• Christians watch any and all movies and TV shows, no matter how rotten.
• Standards of modesty in clothing have been patterned after what our culture believes, not what God’s Word says.
- •• God wants His Church to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. In other words, He wants the Church to be a positive influence on the world. But, sadly, in America at least, the opposite is happening. Let’s look specifically at five areas.
1) Women’s ordination
1 Timothy 2:11-14 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
- •• In churches throughout America this command of Scripture is routinely violated. Women are being ordained to ministry and exercising authority over the men in the congregation in thousands of churches. But the Word of God says that He does “not permit” this.
- • Don’t follow the “Christian Feminist” culture on this. Hold to the bible's teaching on male leadership in the home and the church.
• I have written elsewhere at length on the issue of the ordination of women. I invite you to read that bible study to see biblical answers to the unrelenting feminist pressure on this topic.
2) Acceptance of Homosexuality
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. 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.
- •• The practice of homosexuality is being increasingly tolerated in the churches.
- • Hollywood routinely glorifies this sin.
• One denomination recently ordained a homosexual bishop.
- •• Refuse to accept our secular culture’s “tolerant” position on this flagrant contradiction of God’s word.
Proverbs 20:1, KJV Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Romans 14:20-21 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
- •• Alcohol — its effect on our culture is disastrous!
- • Broken homes, traffic fatalities, individual addictions
• I had a Christian friend who joined the “sipping saints”. His life came to a tragic end when, in a state of intoxication, he fell to his death from a bridge.
- •• Choose to take a personal stand against alcohol. Don’t be wooed by our culture’s pro-alcohol stand. Purpose to walk the higher road.
- • I was shocked to hear of a church of my acquaintance that recently got its liquor license!
4) No Application of Biblical Standards to TV and Movies
Psalm 101:2-3a I will be careful to lead a blameless life — when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. [3a] I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
- •• TV, movies — I see and hear of numerous Christians who watch any and all TV and movies they feel like watching. They have, sadly, embraced the current cultural mantra: “Whatever!”
- • The light of the body is the eye, Jesus said. Protect what your eyes see.
- •• Be like Job (31:1) — "I made a covenant with my eyes, how then should I look lustfully at a young woman?” (World English Bible)
5) Modesty in Clothing Has Almost Disappeared
1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety...
- •• Clothing styles are patterned after “the world”.
- • Youth pastors try to dress like teens in the fashion catalogues.
• Ladies dress showing scandalous amounts of flesh.
- • One concerned Dad said to his daughter, “If you’re not for sale, don’t dress as if you are!”
Summary: Too many in the American Church are imitating our culture:
- • A love-’em-and-leave-’em approach to divorce
• Succumbing to a “Christian Feminist” philosophy
• Being market-driven churches instead of being Word-and-Spirit driven
• Accepting much of our culture’s corrupt music and trying to Christianize it by simply adding some Christian lyrics
• Many churches tolerate active homosexuality; some even celebrate it.
• Believers drink like unbelievers. Churches get liquor licenses!
• Any TV shows, any movies are considered acceptable.
• Clothing styles more and more imitate the world’s immodesty.
Remember our opening verses, which are the Word of God:
- • Be not conformed to this world.
• Do not choose to be a friend of the world and thus become God’s enemy.
• Purpose to “save yourselves from this corrupt generation”.
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©2007, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.