Matt S 23rd November 2016 Part 14.
We’ve been so busy wondering about dwindling Church numbers in the past few decades and the lack of young folk in the Church and just what we need to do about this. How do we attract the younguns back to the fold? (See pictures above) That’s it!! We make it attractive to them, bring in the rock music and the smoke machines, the odd styles of clothing and the odd styles of preaching and while we are at it, why don’t we just bring the odd style of the world into the Church!! (Please understand that I do not have anything against rock music as a style of music, or smoke machines, or odd clothing styles or even odd styles of preaching for that matter, but I do have something against the odd style of the world).
What I do object to is when these things are used collectively to attract people to Church in the name of God.
I have heard so many people say that they are so worried about the narcissism of Church culture, that it’s just emulating the world. So let me just go over this again. We want the kids back in Church, so we bring the world into the church because we think that’s what will keep the kids in Church…………. so we have just brought the world into the Church……. and a whole bunch of worldly kids into Church…………………
Are you getting this!!
Church…World….World……Church…. What is the difference?
Did we ever ask the question why the kids are leaving or not attending Church in the first place? Why are so many adults leaving the Church in droves these days? I have to confess I was one of those that stopped going to church on a regular basis some years ago. Some of the reasons I did were not altogether good reasons but some of them I believe were valid reasons. In parts of my teen years, Churches were great, the experiences were real and the Gospel was preached, the gifts of the spirit were openly used and intercessory prayer, healing and deliverance were part of the daily schedule of events for us. I had an environment of meaningful connection with God and Church elders that supported that idea, that meaningful connection with God never left me, even in my darkest moments, and there have been some of those.
As I moved about New Zealand in my early working days I attended different Churches and I noticed that there were trends of division occurring in what appeared to be stable congregations. It happened enough that I decided to give Church a break for a while as it was having a clear negative effect on others including myself and especially the young people; they were seeing folk who should have been behaving as mature role models acting like very badly behaved two year old children. I had times of going back but they were short lived, the same thing was still going on, it left me very disillusioned. So if it left me disillusioned!! I wonder how was it for other people at the time? (I never stopped to ask)
I had a lot of debate going on in my head about all this and finally I got back to looking for a good Church. After some searching I found one. It’s not perfect, you won’t ever find a perfect Church until Jesus takes over, but it’s the type of Church that I remember, it’s the type of Church that is not afraid to talk about sin and the consequences of sin, it is a Church that is not afraid to show love or show compassion and think of others in all our weird and wonderful shapes. It is outward looking to the community around it; it looks to how it will benefit all its members. It looks to draw on all the strengths that its members have and use them without overusing them. It is accountable and open in how it uses its finances and has a public presentation yearly to show how all the money is spent. It has truly awesome music, worship and preaching and it has food on Sunday after the service!! It also has Church prayer times open to all, it allows the flow of the Holy Spirit.
I spent some time going to other Churches before deciding on where I would look to make a home. There were some Churches that I would not go to, simply because they had departed from using God’s Word as their foundation. So what did that leave me? I went to a number of other Pentecostal type churches and I was truly shocked (it had been quite some time you see). I don’t doubt that there were genuine Christians there, I don’t doubt that the Church leadership were well intentioned, but for me the shock was that if I wanted to connect with God, it just felt so much harder, it felt scripted, staged even. The Church hall/auditorium was darkened in a number of these services, I was unaccustomed to this. There were smoke machines and there were stage acts that were the worship team. The services felt scripted, were scripted. The sermons were unusual and not what I was accustomed to, they were a bit PC not wanting to offend anyone really and things rolled along to a timetable and then you were finished and out the door and the next group were waiting to come into the next scripted service…… does this sound familiar to anyone?
Okay Matt! You’ve had your rant!! What does this have to do with narcissism or even incidental narcissism?
I think what shocked me most about my venturing back into the Church culture was that it had become self absorbed, taking on aspects of, and reflecting the culture of the world, the culture of self. They seemed inwardly focussed, wanting to appeal to popular culture, youth culture, and politically correct culture. Could I still connect with God? Worship Him? Of course nothing would stop that except me; but I was struggling to hear or see a human connection that went outward, was struggling to feel a connection between people that was God centred and human. I was struggling to see the informal flow of the Holy Spirit move things in different ways. I was seeing perfect young men and women in perfect clothes singing perfect songs. I was seeing perfect preachers of all ages preaching perfect lines in rather odd ways. All the while I was stuck shoulder to shoulder with my fellow attendees IN THE DARK!! (unless it was interrupted by the dazzling sweep of a laser beam)
What struck me was that I could go anywhere in the world to a secular meeting somewhere, a rock concert, a school concert, a theatrical society, a political parliamentary session and have the same thing. This was supposed to be a gathering of God’s peculiar people. I had been to my current Church home prior to attending these other Churches and I went back to it with relief.
There are many genuine Christian folk in the “smoke machine” Churches but like the “frog in the pot” I wonder if they have become accustomed and acclimatised to the “NEW” way of doing things, they are told “this is the way we should be doing it”. I guess folk did think to consult God when pondering why the Church had lost its youth and many members? Did Church leadership stay still and listen to what God was saying? The Church I attend does not have huge numbers of young people (yet), but I really like these young people, I have mentioned them before in my articles. They are outwardly focussed, they are Jesus focussed, they have good hearts, they are not afraid to hear or speak the Word of God, they are respectful and teachable, they show love and compassion, they are rare.
I have already discussed in another article that we have taught our children to be selfish and that it is normal and okay to be selfish and self absorbed, to walk over others as long as we are safe in our cotton wool cocoon. I have also discussed that satan has a plan to destroy God’s people and God’s work and impose his personality and way of doing things. I have read about and heard about so many leaving the Church because of the changes that have occurred, mega Churches preaching a watered down “seeker friendly” Gospel that tickles itching ears, that does not challenge sin or individuals to grow in that way that God would have them grow. I know that there would be many that would challenge my ideas and thinking around all of these concepts, and I accept that there are folk out there who are just plain stuck or paralysed and others who really want to do something to change Church culture. However what concerns me is that satan is getting his way with the gradual introduction of a worldly narcissistic culture into the Church, and that there are many folk who accept or believe that this is okay.
Well it’s not okay!!
I have battled with narcissistic self absorbed satanic thinking in myself, in my family, in my home-life, in my workplace, in my culture, in my town, in my country, in the world, in my Church life, in my children’s lives, in my children’s school life, in my countries political system and now sadly within Christian culture worldwide. It is destructive and it is not of God. It is unfortunately now everywhere, because satan wants it to be and we are letting him do it. We are agreeing to let him in. Satan is a smooth tongued deceiver and we are agreeing to his plan. We are agreeing to allow ourselves and our children to be selfish and self focussed. Satan loves this and wants this, he is getting his way.
There is now an ingrained self focussed culture in the world that has pervaded/soaked into everything. If you challenge it you are demonised and ostracised for daring to suggest that it is wrong. It is selfish to the core and luciferian in its origin and it is my belief that it is planned to be this way. It has many victims that are scattered along the wayside as it does not care who it destroys in the process.
Christians have accepted the lie just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. The lie is that it is okay to look like the world if that will make people comfortable and happy IN THEIR SIN, to not OFFEND THEM or UPSET THEM. So please tell me, why not just go to an atheist church or a Unitarian Universalist Church if you want an “anything goes” message and don’t want to be offended by the Word of God? There are plenty of them springing up.
So how should we deal with “incidental narcissists”, those who have been raised to believe that the selfish “SELF” culture of the world is OKAY? How should we deal with the discarded victims of narcissism?
Absolutely and completely in the same way!!
We need to love these people (but this does not mean we have to agree with their thinking). Loving them is being truthful in love, gentle, patient, forgiving and uncondemning just as Jesus has been with us. We do not have to be part of this thinking. We can boldly but gently challenge this thinking as the opportunity arises. We can pray that the Holy Spirit challenges and intervenes in people’s lives. We can gently lay the scripture before people if they are willing to listen to it, one of the issues that face many Christians and their walk with God is that they do not read his word and they do not pray, I have been very guilty of both and recognise that when I do, the Holy Spirit speaks to me plainly and clearly at times, convicting, instructing, teaching and encouraging me.
So here are some scriptures that can be used if need be, to show what God is asking of us.
The bible tells us that satan is the ruler of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and John 12:31. So where does it say in the bible that we must become like the world in order to attract people in to Church life and Christian culture? It doesn’t, in fact it says the opposite. Brethren, do not be conformed to the world. He who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God. It says this in James 4:4 in very plain language. The world is currently ruled by satan and he is God’s enemy and he is our enemy, so why are we agreeing and colluding with him? The world hates us because we belong to God, and He has chosen us to be apart from the world John 15:19. The world is hostile to God and does not subject itself to God Romans 8;7. God asks us to remain unstained by the world James 1:27 . For if we love the world the love of God is not is us 1 John 2:15.
Simply put!! we need to return to what God wants of us. Just like Israel in the Old Testament, we have strayed from God’s way for us and we have embraced the pagan gods, the false idols and luciferian lies. Israel paid a price for staying unrepentant after being warned by a loving and merciful God. I believe that we will also pay that price unless we return in repentance to our Father in Heaven. I believe that there are many good Christian folk who are caught in this web of deception. Time is running short we are at the end of this age. Time to wake up and get back to what God wants for us. Please understand that God does not need the world to connect with us, he only needs us to be willing to connect with Him.
Have a good week folks, it will be another couple of weeks before my next instalment as I am currently working on another project, my next article is going to look at Narcissism and the demonic connections. God bless you all and thank you for taking the time to read this article, as always; Here is my gmail address, if anyone has a question or a comment they can send it to me. I am not on Face Book; I struggle to keep up with emails at times as I work full time. If you do send me an email I will do my best to respond to you however it may not be quick response. My gmail address is as follows; email@example.com