Lately I have been doing a lot of church culture watching. What I mean by this is that I am observing where some of the movements are going and how that will affect the church as a whole. I see three movements or areas that are going to be major alarms in the coming years. All of the are subtle so it is easy to explain away. They aren’t radical either like the emergent church which desires to change theology as we know it. Here are three movements or areas of concern that I see.
First is the Neo-Reformed movement. There has been an incredible surge in reformed theology lately due to people like Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler. Both of these men are incredible teachers and are in demand all over the world becuase of it. I listen to Matt Chandler on a weekly basis and like his teaching. The danger I see in this movement is that they are Calvinists. While I might get a lot of arguing Calvinists over this there is a problem with reformed theology because of the five points of Calvinism or what they call TULIP. Here is my problem with this belief: They believe in double predestination which basically says that we don’t have a choice in our salvation. We are unconditionally elected by God. God does chose who will be saved but we must accept it. They also believe that Jesus didn’t die on the cross for everybody, that his sacrifice or atonement was limited. Finally they deny any free will by saying that God’s grace is irresistable.
Second is the Missional movement. This is a group of people and churches that beleive that we should take Jesus to the people of the street. I agree but what I am finding is that they are taking the Bible which in turn means they aren’t taking the Jesus of the Bible. In an effort to reach the world (which is admirable) they have rendered the church powerless by reducing it down to an experience. If a church isn’t guided by Scripture then it has a hard time being a church. I love reaching out but the Word of God must always lead the charge.
Third is the Non-Church movement. This isn’t really a movement but an area of the church that is the greatest risk. These are people who say they believe in God, have a relationship with Him, but refuse to be a part of the church. They believe they can follow God outside of God’s divine institution. What I find in this group are the hurt and the hardened. The first group are people that have been disillusioned by the church through a moral failure by the leader or a scandal that split the church. These people are skeptical and need to be loved back in. The hardened are those who know what is right because they know the Word of God but refuse to submit to the authority of the church because of the sin in their life. They know they are sinning and going to church reminds them of it so they stay away. Sadly they fall deeper and deeper into sin and eventually reject God fully.
As The Church we need to guard oursleves against these subtle movements. While they are 90% good in intentions eventually their dogma overcomes everything else and they become a danger. If you start to hear terms like reformed or missional be cautious, you now know what they stand for.