Cookie Monster: The lights were shining
The night was fine
And me was having a real great time
Then me got careless
Me don’t know how
But me had something me can’t find now!
(chorus) Me lost me cookie at the disco
Cookie Monster: The mood exciting
The music loud
Me just a part of that happy crowd
Me feet go crazy
Across the floor
But something made my sweetie not be there no more!
One Sunday over Christmas, Steve and I visited the sort of church we are almost never in. We visited out of curiosity but also out of familiarity because the last time we were in the city we had been in this church and enjoyed our visit. It was a couple of decades later however and a lot had changed.
The interior of the church was black. We kind of expected that since we had checked out their internet site. But we stayed to talk to the pastors at the door anyway.
Within about ten minutes of us being there, we noticed that the stage down the front was looking a little blurry. I turned to the Pastor we were speaking to and asked him if that was a smoke machine down the front and he said that it was. He put the blame on ‘them’ whoever they were and said that ‘they’ loved having the smoke machines.
As time progressed, we found a seat and waited for the meeting to start. We generally, like the cowards we are, like being at the back just in case we need to make a quick getaway. On this occasion however it proved useful. As soon as the music started, the strobe lights began. The whole building was dark, there was a stage with all the rock instruments you could want, there was a young woman wearing a very short skirt and holding a microphone and there was a smoke machine and strobe lights. The only thing that could complete the picture was a mirror ball.
Why do churches do this?
I mean really, why?
Look at the logic behind it, it makes no sense. Out in the world, people go to discos, or nightclubs or rock concerts to do one of three things – generally. They are either there to hook up with somebody, they are there to buy or consume drugs, or they are there to hang out with their friends, switch off their brains and drink themselves to oblivion. All in all, the intent is to forget their lives, which are meaningless, fear-laden and filled with dysfunctional relationships. And if things are going well, they still go to the pub, club, or friends places to do the same things. Such is life in the world.
So the logic in the seeker-sensitive churches is – we will entice the unchurched into church by making a church look like a club or disco. Because that’s where people go to ‘have a good time’ without recognising that the time they are having is not ‘good’ at all, it is perverse. But then you have to actually be saved from out of this perverse generation in order to recognise that. So once people are in the ‘church’, we will do the classic bait and switch. We will wham them with the gospel and they will get saved. Maybe. I mean would you bother getting saved if there was no difference between life inside and outside the church? What would be the point. In fact, most seeker sensitive churches don’t preach the gospel or anything like it. They waffle, they tell people that heaven will be a party, they refuse to mention sin, repentance or the cross because that might, gasp, be offensive, and then they wonder why their congregations have the maturity of three year olds.
The average person in the street is not that stupid. They do not think that a church looking like a disco actually is a disco. Nor do they consider that they will be able to do any of the above disco related activities in a church because they will generally expect that a church would not encourage them – being a church, a place of worshipping God. Most people know at some level that they are sinning by getting drunk, doing drugs, having sex and ignoring God. What sinners are looking for is answers to life’s problems. And, being intelligent, they assume that because what they are doing doesn’t work, that what does work will be something different. They just haven’t found it yet. Similar to the tenet that insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over in the hope that something will change.
The problem with seeker-sensitive churches is that they are announcing to the world that they don’t actually have the answer to life’s problems, and they are expecting the world to tell them what to do next. This is a total abdication of truth, it is also a cowardly refusal to actually seek the Lord to know His mind on how to reach the lost. They have sold their soul in order to be friends with the world, in order to save the world. Nope, doesn’t work. Not only that, but scripture (James 4:4) tells us that if you are friends with the world you are an enemy of God. WOW. How did the SS churches miss that one? They missed it because they don’t read their Bibles, nor do they have any genuine faith. In fact, I would have to say that most of them are either not saved, or are just baby Christians who have never grown up.
But back to our church visit. Well, we certainly did lose something at this disco. In fact, it wasn’t just us. The church had lost its whole reason for being. We didn’t stay to listen to any preaching, but really, we didn’t think that this would be an issue. If this is how they believe churches should appeal to people in post-modern society, they really had lost the plot. And I guess they also lost the Holy Spirit, because nobody had any idea how to worship the Lord in that environment at all.
I was beginning to wonder if I was going to go blind because every time the strobe lights whirled around they hit me right at eye level. I don’t know whose idea that was, but it was completely ridiculous. You couldn’t concentrate on anything that was going on at the front, because you were continually shielding your eyes against the lights. It was like being blinded by somebody’s car headlights on high beam at night, and just as enjoyable.
We stayed ten minutes and left. Just before we left, I disappeared to the bathroom, and Steve talked briefly with a young guy who came and sat next to him. He told Steve he only came there for the music. Which was a little sad, because frankly, the ‘worship leader’ couldn’t sing. What was interesting was that this young guy who just came for the music clearly wasn’t a Christian. He was like a guy on the street who just came in to sit for a while and enjoy the free disco. So, yeah, to some degree their devious plan worked. It got one guy off the street and inside. But with nobody to tell him the gospsel? He was sadly going to stay lost.