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Letter: We don’t need to reinvent Jesus

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Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 12:00 am

There is a general feeling today that the church (i.e. Christianity) is no longer relevant and is generally dismissed as an insignificant dinosaur that is out of touch with modern culture. The God it worships, the morality it teaches, the salvation it preaches are considered unimportant in most people’s lives.

What’s interesting about this is that these sentiments have gained strength over the past three decades at the same time the church was “reinventing” itself so it could be seen as relevant, cool and hip. Worship services were changed to resemble rock concerts. Sermons were crafted to rival stand-up comedy routines, storytelling times or pop psychology that made “self” the center of the universe. Sanctuaries were transformed to look like a Starbucks, and the church changed its mode of presenting the truth from anointed boldness and clarity to “non-threatening” and comfortable drivel.

The very result the church growth experts were looking for — the church becoming popular in society with many people attending — never happened. In fact, it seems like just the opposite happened — more people are turned off Christianity than ever before. Why?

I believe because in our crazy, mixed-up, violent world people are looking for something different, something that has real, honest answers to the questions they ponder, and the modern church just offers them more of the same thing they already have.

Whatever happened to simple, uncompromised Christianity? A Christianity that didn’t invest time and energy into being cool or relevant, but knew that Jesus is already relevant, and always will be, and invested energy into passionate prayer, authentic worship (regardless of music style), and anointed, uncompromised preaching and teaching. Whatever happened to reliance on the Holy Spirit instead of on ourselves?

My friends, I believe that Jesus is enough in any culture, even in our high tech, postmodern, relativistic society. We don’t have to reinvent Him so that He is attractive to people. He is already awesome and attractive. Let’s just pray fervently, know Him intimately, proclaim Him passionately, live His truth out uncompromisingly, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Pastor Frank Nolton

New Hope Community Church

Lodi

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Welcome to the discussion.

11 comments:

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 8:54 am on Thu, Sep 4, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2410

    Pastor Nolton, if your really want to know why the lambs of Christ are leaving the Church in search of greener pastures, take a look at Ron Portal's letter to the editor today regarding the treatment of the poor.

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 9:48 am on Tue, Sep 2, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1477

    Kevin thanks for the response
    One of my favorite shows is "Through the Wormhole" with M. Freeman and I think I saw this show. But noticeably absent in the article is the act of wishing though it did talk about brain activity that could be similar to wishing such as visualizing. And what wasn't discussed is which is more beneficial between visualizing and praying.

    However the brain activity for praying was the same as brain activity of carrying on conversation with real live people. The fact that the brain activity while praying says the one praying can see the object or person being prayed to has the same effect as a real people conversation doesn't say much for praying.

    This can be a testament to the mentally ill who hear voices. They also probably would have brain activity similar to conversations with real people or praying. I wonder if talking to myself especially when I can't fnd my car keys would produce similar readings.

    However for "answered" prayer I still hold that it is as effective as wishing.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 5:37 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2024

    Actually there is a significant difference between praying and wishing. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/how-does-prayer-meditation-affect-brain-activity_n_1974621.html

     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:10 pm on Sun, Aug 31, 2014.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2410

    The LDS reinvented Jesus and that seems to be working out pretty well for them.

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 3:05 pm on Sun, Aug 31, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1477

    Prayer as "...a celebration and expression of faith" doesn't make much sense but OK I get it. However many acts can be considered the same kind of expression; singing, taking up painting or music, writing poetry, etc. can be viewed much the same way.

    Prayer is like meditation, its simply talking to your self or on the same level as wishing. There is no difference between praying for world peace than wishing for world peace. Closer to home is praying for an ill person which is just as effective as wishing for that person to get well.

    Can you pray for something right now and have it come true or is your answered prayer merely the product of coincidence? What happened was going to happen regardless and the fact that it followed a prayer is merely coincidental? This takes us back to Mr Doyles question how do you tell what is real? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I can pray for something, though, I would refer to it as wishing, and it would have the same probability of coming true. However what can't be explained well is when it doesn't come to fruition then why not?

    Actually i don't do much wishing as well. I do hope a lot but even it is about as effective as prayers or wishing.

     
  • Sarah Elizabeth Tygert posted at 4:29 pm on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    Sarah Tygert Posts: 53

    Leaving religion is rarely done for lack of relevency or passion. Most people dont find the concept of a 2,000 year old zombie-god as at all believeable. Most of us can tell the difference between fact and fiction.

    Christianity, theism and general, and certainly the bible reeks of a hilarious fiction tale.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 1:46 pm on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2024

    Prayers are "never" answered? Weird cause I have had several in my life answered.

    I think the problem is you see prayer as an " an act of desperation". To a believer a Prayer is a celebration and expression of faith.

     
  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:23 am on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2024

    Yup, that is what the Christian churches need, "energy into passionate prayer, authentic worship (regardless of music style), and anointed, uncompromised preaching and teaching."

    It's not like our example to the world hung out with the socially cast out Lepers, sinners and others cast out by those who thought much like Pastor Nolton. I mean how dare Jesus break the Sabbath to care for people or feed the poor when "Uncompromised preaching" and "passionate Prayer" was what was relevant and traditional.

     
  • Rick Houdack posted at 10:08 am on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    Rick Houdack Posts: 170

    A lot of people have fled "the church" for exactly the "attractive" reasons Nolton gives. Fewer people want to be associated with shrinking, resentful cults which are becoming more stridently hateful and proudly vocal about it. Who needs it?

     
  • Thomas Heuer posted at 8:24 am on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1477

    Pastor Nolton doesn't understand the word "relevant".
    Lets be clear, god only exists in your head. There is no outward manifestation or experience of god outside of your head. As we go about our day, at work or play, we use our heads to navigate our lives not assure the existence of god which would require us to think about god all day for him to exist. As I've said before;

    when you DON’T need god, god doesn't exist. Only when you need god do you HOPE he exists.

    When calamity enters your life you pray (you believe connects you to a god) which is an act of desperation where you hope god exists because you've lost all control. Since prayers are never answered its surprising there are still people who in some desperate way cling to such irrelevant practices.

     
  • David Diskin posted at 1:05 am on Sat, Aug 30, 2014.

    David Diskin Posts: 183

    Mr. Nolton, people aren't leaving churches because of rock music and coffee.

    They're leaving because they are increasing embarrassed, annoyed, and offended by what people are doing in the name of Christianity. And I don't blame them.

     

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