The Powerful Influence of Culture on the Postmodern Church

If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord’s will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel, insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.” -C.H. SPURGEON

Culture has become the greatest enemy of the Gospel in the United States.   It has undeniably influenced the postmodern church to become intolerant of the whole Gospel which includes sin and God’s wrath.   The Gospel has been perverted by omission of the wrath of God that will one day be handed out to sinners that did not accept Jesus Christ as Savior.  The world does not like being told that they are sinners and they prefer to think that a God that loves everyone could not send anyone to Hell. Therefore, they do not want to hear about God’s wrath, which incidentally, is written about more in Scripture than love. Church leadership now in fear of offending and losing members for speaking the truth is now focused on pleasing man and not God.   The value of a soul in light of eternity has been lost in the postmodern church era.

“…Or do I seek to please men: For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Culture (albeit Satan) has taken the reigns of the church through the seeker (obsessed) sensitive and church growth movement, which finds the Gospel as a whole to be offensive.  The reality is that the Gospel is offensive (Praise God!) and it will always be offensive to a sinner.  It is by that offense that the Holy Spirit convicts a sinner of their need for a Savior.   Culture has influenced the church with self-esteem messages which are the prevailing theme in postmodernism, instead of the Gospel.  It is watered down and made palatable because people do not want to feel “rejected” or “bad” about themselves.  The fact remains that we are sinners and undeserving of God’s forgiveness.  Yet God, because He first loved us sacrificed His only Son so that we could avoid His wrath.  The truth is that unless we accept the free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ and repent and turn from our wicked ways, God’s wrath will one day separate those that are lost and cast them into Hell for eternity.  A fact that the postmodern church chooses to ignore in their quest to please man rather than God!

The Gospel through the Holy Spirit is the Sword that pierces the heart to convict the heart of a sinner of their need for a Savior, which is Jesus Christ!

Satan has slowly eroded discernment in the church, which undoubtedly came through the many compromises made, especially in the last couple of decades.  Compromise which came by way of the seeker obsessed movement.  Relevant preaching is one of those compromises.  Relevancy as determined by the culture. Yet God says that all Scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable.  Therefore, all Scripture is relevant and it requires no addition or subtraction and should be preached in spite of what the culture desires to hear! 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 2 Tim 3:16 (KJV)

Relevant preaching has essentially destroyed the testimony of the Church by allowing blatant sin to be tolerated and largely ignored.  Unless the whole Gospel is returned to the preeminent position that it should be and the Holy Spirit be unchained and allowed to convict, churches will continue to remain weak, undisciplined and broken.

Relevancy has made the Church weak, undisciplined, tolerant of sin and broken and her testimony lost. It is interesting to note that in spite of all the relevant preaching, especially in the last decade statistically is proving that it has failed. For example, divorce amongst professing Believers has now exceeded the secular world.  We have more broken homes and families than ever before. What a poor testimony it reflects to the world!

There was a day for example, when divorce was preached against and church discipline was invoked on anyone that chose to ignore God’s instruction about divorce.  In the postmodern culture, many today recite Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged” as a reason to no longer practice church discipline.  This verse has been taken out of context and its meaning corrupted.  If you continue reading Matthew 7:2 goes on to say “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” This is clearly stating that you are not to make rash judgments because you will be held to the same standards by which you judge.  Matthew 7:3-5 “And why to you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother ‘Let me remove the speck out of your eye and look, a plank in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We are to examine ourselves before making any judgment to make sure that we are not doing the same sin as our brother so that we can “see clearly to remove the speck”. Removing the speck is then clearly making judgment.  Other Scripture about judgment:

“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” 1Corinthians 2:15

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgmentJohn 7:24

“Judge righteous judgment” is a command to judge. Judgment by God’s standards as outlined in His Word is then God’s judgment not mans. Church discipline is God’s way of correcting His children, just as parents discipline their children to correct and teach, so does God correct His children.

The church should not be the place where sin is entertained, scandals abound and disobedience is tolerated, but the church should be what Paul had declared that it is,

the pillar and support of the truth.” 1Tim. 3:15

(Steve Camp)

Sin, especially that which is done without remorse or regard for the other members of the church body that is allowed to continue will only serve to further destroy the Church.   Children that are undisciplined are unruly and without respect for authority the same can be said for church members that are allowed to continue in their sin without consequence.  Church members that defiantly disobey God’s Word to pursue their own selfish desires have no respect for the authority of God!

God’s purpose and plan for Church discipline is to restore fellowship, not destroy!  Restoration can only come through brokenness and repentance.

The Church is also weak because we have made church “fun” and enjoyable… in other words, palatable. Children’s Sunday School is no longer used to teach and instruct, but to have fun. Televisions are brought in to occupy their time or to teach through videos. No longer is the Word of God opened. Children are sponges and the more indoctrinated they are at a young age before they are influenced by the world, it is less likely they will grow up and leave the church. I’ve searched my Bible and have yet to find Scripture that indicates that church should be “fun.”

The Church is weak because youth group rooms and Sunday School classes are nothing more than big game rooms complete with video games, pool tables and snack machines.  Again “fun” takes priority before learning about God.  This has led to teens lacking in spiritual depth and Biblically ignorant. That became painfully aware to me by viewing MySpace pages of the teenagers of my friends.  It was eye opening to see how spiritually ignorant teenagers are and I’ve only viewed a small sampling, I can’t fathom what viewing a large number of pages would reveal.

The church will continue to weaken, especially here in the United States. We have become so comfortable with our lives that we don’t have any concept of what it would be like to be persecuted for our faith. We don’t need relevant preaching that only covers what tickles our ears! We need preaching that convicts us of our sin and give us a deep desire to strive for holy living as a testimony to the world that we are different and reflect Christ in our lives! We are not of this world and culture should not be allowed to influence and destroy our testimony before a lost world! How can they see their need for a Savior if we look, act and speak like the world?

“Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

I’ll end this with a hymn that should encourage us to stand up for what is right, and true and most of all honors our God!

Stand up stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross!

Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.

From victr’y unto vict’ry, His army shall He lead

Till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The trumpet call obey;

Forth to the mighty conflict, In this His glorious day.

Ye that are men now serve Him, Against unnumbered foes;

Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength a lone;

The arm of flesh will fail you Ye dare not trust your own.

Put on the gospel armor, Each piece put on with prayer;

Where duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The strive will not be long;

This day the noise of battle, The next, the victor’s song.

To Him that overcometh, A crown of life shall be:

He with the King of glory, Shall reign eternally.

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