has the message changed?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    Let's try again:

    Have Baptist churches changed the message in your area?

    I'll say in my region we have for the most part.

    Used to be if you went in a Baptist church on Sunday morning you walked out knowing about sin, about it's penalty, about Jesus and how he was the remedy for sin, and about being born again.

    You might have been taught or preached to about prophesy, or His deity, or tithing, or any other Biblical topic, but the main thing was salvation and it wasn't neglected.

    The basic message was all people are sinners doomed to hell and in need of salvation, and how to find salvation.

    The churches in our area that have not changed methods have changed the message to "the world is going to heck in a handbasket because of liberalism and we have to stamp it out and stamp it out now."

    The churches in our area that have changed methods have changed the message to "all people are unhappy and unfulfilled and victims of something. Jesus wants to be your boyfriend and help you find the way to being cool, comfortable, and really really happy."

    My Lutheran friend sees nothing of worth in either of those messages, but would be drawn to go and hear more of the old message regardless of the preferred method.

    So my questions are these: HAS the message been changed in your area? Do you think Satan has tricked us into arguing within about the methods or gotten us majoring on the minors in order to squelch evangelism?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    Just because minister don't use old fashioned terminology to refer to biblical issues doesn't mean the message has changed. At the church where I serve, when we talk about these issues that you mention we use different language than a hellfire and brimstone approach because we don't believe in that approach. That said we still do talk about the issues.

    As for your specific question about methodology, I think you do have a legitimate point. Too often we change churches and methods based on aesthetics than doctrine. But not all modern methodologies water down the message, they often express it differently. I have more than a few friends that left staffs of old methodology mainline churches that believe the Bible little to plant new methodology churches that believe the Bible strongly. Just because someone expresses it differently doesn't mean that they are watering it down.
     
  3. nodak

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    I agree terminolgy can change.

    But there is an eternity of difference between being unfulfilled in this life and saved for the next.

    Just as there is an eternity of difference between doing something that is a sin and offence against a holy God, and doing something that, in dr phil's words, isn't working for you.

    I'm talking about people who have been Baptists for maybe 5-10 years and have no idea about the eternal significance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Folks that are more concerned to find their own significance here, that sort of thing.
     
  4. annsni

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    Well, one thing we have to remember is what is the purpose of the church? Are we there as an outreach to the lost or as a place of worship and teaching of the body? In our church, it's mostly worship and teaching/discipling. So in other words, we don't have a fire and brimestone message every week or an altar call every week but we do those periodically. But the congregation hears about Scripture, what it says, what we're to do to respond and how God changes our lives. If our purpose was only for outreach to the lost, then of course we'd have each week the saving Gospel message and an invitation for people to respond. But then what do we do with them once they are save? Continue giving them milk or start them beginning to eat some meat? I don't think you can do both and be successful at both.
     
  5. ktn4eg

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    With our merger with another baptistic church in the area, some of our externals have changed, but for the most part I don't see that our message has particularly changed.

    Even before our merger we were a cell-based and elder-directed church. We now have some newer cells and some different elders, but I can't see that our basic message has changed.

    For a variety of reasons, our "human founder" has been led to move on to other areas of ministry than strictly pastoral. Consequently, he's not preaching with us as much as he used to. The man who led the fellowship that merged with us [the merger was made official during the 1st week of Jan 2009] does most of the preaching now, but many times there'll be some other elder preaching.

    Usually we're on some topic for several weeks. This Sunday will conclude a 12-week series entitled "Amazing Grace." [It's more than just the hymn by John Newton, BTW!] (You can hear these sermons at our website: www.lighthouseministries.org )
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    We have changed the methods in lots of ways. Our style of music has changed from traditional hymns to more praise and worship (which is different from choruses!). We are much more relaxed in terms of what I wear and what most of our people wear. (We can usually tell the visitors from more 'conservative' churches by the ties) We have changed our Sunday night services from meeting in the auditorium to meeting in the fellowship hall around tables.

    But I still preach expository messages. We still sing and preach about the blood of Christ. We still believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. We still baptize by immersion those who have trusted Christ as savior. We still celebrate the Lord's Supper.

    I can't talk about whether others have changed. But, although we have changed some externals, the internals are still the same.

    As I said in the other thread. Some change methods, but not message. Some change the message but not the methods. Some change both methods and message. Them that do, do and them that don't, don't.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    The emphasis of the message changes with each generation. For instance, these days you never hear:

    Slavery being defended
    Sermons on separate but equal schools
    Sermons on how mankind is getting better and better every day
    Sermons on how women should not be allowed to own property

    The list could go on and on as the emphasis of each generation shifts.

    I have not heard any preacher preach on the evils of labor unions, or the evils of corporations recently. Perhaps others have.
     
  8. Gina B

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    I was in the middle of typing this when the board went down for maintenance the other day, then saved it and came back and the thread was locked. It was still on my computer, so here's my original answer for the third and first time! hahaha!

    Yes, some have changed the message, but some have simply changed the presentation, and a lot of people can't deal with that.

    We need to realize there are NUMEROUS methods of presenting the gospel and teaching people how to live. Teaching lessons on hellfire and damnation is scriptural. However, teaching people about the love of Christ and how to apply Christian doctrine to our daily lives is also part of what churches do.

    Some people gain from hard words. It took harshness to get me to listen to the truth in the beginning.
    It took gentleness to guide me as a new believer.
    Sometimes I still need to hear a good old fashioned sermon delivered in a stern, strict manner, but for the most part, my heart responds to the plain, simple truth told to me in a plain, simple manner. Don't get me wrong, I love to study theology and I love debate, but when it comes to personal conviction, do NOT scream the message in my face!

    It may be very true that your friend is getting what he needs from television. He may get nothing new from attending church.

    But he's being self-centered. We're supposed to get together with other believers, and it's not just because we need the personal interaction. It's because we need to be able to offer ourselves to the service of others as well. Churches, communities, and politics are pretty much inseparable to any believer. I STRONGLY believe that if one has to travel out of their community to get to a decent church, they need to either move or work to get a decent church planted in their area.

    So yeah, both have changed, but so have believers. Instead of looking for ways to serve, they're after the instant gratification of a personal experience and don't give a hoot if the person next to them is in need.

    That's all.
     
  9. nodak

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    Moving or planting a new church? Well, we can't move. Period. We are needed here at the moment. We are part of a group seeking to plant a new church, and in the mean time, we travel some for church.

    But I don't think some are getting what I am asking, and that would be my fault.

    Since talking to my friend I have brought this up with some friends at the "Jesus is my boyfriend Baptist Church"--which by the way, has nothing to do with worship style. Let's not get derailed again.

    I get replies like:

    "Well, I came to Jesus for deliverance from cocaine. He did that for me. Now, I don't believe in heaven or hell or getting saved, but I am a Christian cause I don't do coke anymore."

    "This life is all there is, and I want it to be a good one. My marriage was falling apart before I came to Christ. Now it is good, but believe me, start talking all that old prehistoric blood sacrifice stuff and I am out of here."

    "I have a warm loving relationship with Jesus. No, I haven't repented of my sins because I don't have any. What this church has done is help me start to love myself. Jesus looked through eternity, saw me, and knew I was worth dying for. So how could I be a sinner?"

    Crabtownboy--never once in 60 years heard any Baptist preacher preach those sermons you came up with as generational change.

    But you DID illustrate my question beautifully. ALL of the sermons you listed, having heard or not heard them, are about humans and life on earth.

    Not one of them would see a sinner saved.

    Annsi--where did you get your purpose of the church? I think you illustrated the question beautifully. Some see the church as for the care and feeding of the saved. I come from a time (and think my Lutheran friend does also) when the purpose of Baptist churches was the salvation of souls.

    So let's re-ask the question again that way:

    Whatever the method, does your church focus on reaching the lost or on the care and feeding of the saved? (Not on which is better or right, just which receives the larger emphasis at your church. And by care and feeding I do not mean deep expository preaching about God, but rather the "come and have a warm fuzzy experience and get a better life" type.)

    Who would best represent your church's message: a sermon by the late Adrian Rogers or one by Joel Osteen?
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    Neither. I am preaching the Word of God, something that Osteen does not do. We have a number of services. The Sunday morning services attempts to reach unsaved people. It is not always a straight salvation message, but we want to make certain that the Gospel is clearly presented. If an usaved person is going to come to church, they come on Sunday morning.

    Sunday and Wednesday nights are aimed at growing believers. In those sermons, we deal with how to be better husband or wife; how to raise your children; what about your finances as well as doctrinal studies.

    I am afraid, you think that if you don't preach like Criswell or Rogers, you must be preaching like Osteen. And that is just not true. I think you confuse style of preaching with content.
     
  11. tinytim

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    Nodak, I understand exactly what you are saying...

    It is the difference between Evangelical Theology (purpose = getting saved) vs. Liberation Theology (purpose = making life better here)

    Google these two terms and you will see for yourself.

    Liberation theology is growing in many churches, pushing evangelical theology out.

    Liberation theology is about serving self
    Evangelical theology is about serving Christ.
     
  12. Berean

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    Have Baptist churches changed the message in your area?

    Yes, The depravity of man has been completely replaced by the love of God. In the presentation of the Gospel To show the Love of God you must first show the depraved condition of man.
     
  13. SolaSaint

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    Gee, Craby, just how old are you anyway?
     
  14. annsni

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    We've talked a lot about different churches between my husband and myself and as we've talked to other staff. Also, we're planting two new churches so we're figuring out what sort of churches they will be. For example, our new church is quite possibly going to end up with a lot of new believers or unsaved seekers and so we're going to have to be giving a bit more milk than our home church does. We're also not likely to have people who have a Bible or know how to use one so we're going to be providing free Bibles for people to take that is all in the same version with the same page numbers so they can start learning where things are. In our home church, we do give out Bibles but it's expected that the majority know how to use it so if we see someone struggling, someone in a seat nearby will help them instead of having the page number read aloud from the pulpit.

    So yes, the method will change from one church to the next and the type of message may change but the heart of the message will be the same - the Gospel and God's Word. It's just that one is more meaty and one will be more Pablum. :)
     
  15. annsni

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    We definitely don't have "warm fuzzy/better life/Joel Osteen (aka Smiley)" in our church. Nor will we have that in our new church. It's such a disservice to the new believer because they think life with God will be all peaches and cream but when struggle and trials and temptations come (which we all know they will), then they wonder just how "wonderful" this life can be! They were sold on God using false advertising. Even in the new church, the message will still be the study of God's Word but it will be more on the "basics" of the faith for a while until the congregation is ready for more. Who knows when that will be but we'll be on watch for when it's time.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    My churches (and the crowd we hang with) are actively working on a return to the "foundations". Strong doctrine, erxposition, Christian character, worship music, etc.

    For years Baptist churches wallowed in a shallow "fundamnetalism" (push the 5 fundamentals and not grow beyond them)(. Easy-believism replaced sound doctrine. The church was run by a profressional (we don't witness, we invite people into church), Decisions/numbers replaced disciples.

    Not now.
     
  17. Crabtownboy

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    Dietrich Bonhoeffer called this "Cheap Grace."

    I have also head it called the "Dip them and drop them syndrome."


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SoloSaint asked in response to my post how old I am:

    Slavery being defended
    Sermons on separate but equal schools
    Sermons on how mankind is getting better and better every day
    Sermons on how women should not be allowed to own property

    The list could go on and on as the emphasis of each generation shifts.

    I have not heard any preacher preach on the evils of labor unions, or the evils of corporations recently. Perhaps others have.


    Pretty old Solo and somewhat a student of history. Have you read any of the sermons defending slavery?
     
    #17 Crabtownboy, Aug 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2010
  18. gb93433

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    When I was in seminary I had a few professors who were older than you are now and they said the same things about when they were much younger. When I took a look at Darwin and traced back his theories, it started when his grandfather was a child. So what else is new? Even in Jesus' day there were all the religious politicians from various points of view and various actions. Ecclesiastes is still true.
     
  19. gb93433

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    Does anyone know of a seminary who teaches their students how to make disciples rather than just about small groups and music?
     
  20. nodak

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    Tom Bryant--no, I get the difference between method and message. Sounds like your church is doing the right things and I would love to send my friend there (not to mention attend myself) but I suspect the distance would be even greater than I travel now!

    Annsi--thanks for clearing things up! Sounds like you do the right thing with seekers rather than the "let's don't tell them about salvation or they will leave" thing.

    tinytim--thank you thank you! I didn't know the term for the off kilter stuff--liberation theology--but now that I do, I can do some study on it vs the gospel. I can share that with some of the gals from the "Jesus is my boyfriend Baptist church" and pray they run with it.
     

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