Maybe itís me. Maybe I am just getting too old to understand what has happened to Church as I knew it 40 years ago. I think it may have begun when we put the hymnals in storage and went to singing choruses put on transparencies and flashed on the wall or small screen.
The next phase was the computerization of faith and the same choruses were now repeated over and over and over again. This time they were flashed from some computer thing hanging from the ceiling.
The next phase came with the ability to flash up the scripture [often with three parallel translations] as the pastor preached. Bibles started to disappear in the congregation. Why bother when the computer was faster than your fingers and by the time you did find the referenced scripture, the pastor was on the next one.
New, contemporary worship music and its faster tempo and higher volume, along with special effects replaced the kind of worship service that brought tears to my eyes. Instead it brought pain to my ears.
Congregations where I once saw marvelous altar calls have replaced that monumental. Come to the altar and get on your knees, repent and receive Jesus with a wave of the hand if you want Jesus. I remember what happened in my life when I answered that real call that altered the rest of my life. I still remember the spot on the steps and the prayer I prayed. I donít know what or where I would be if I did the wave my hand thing.
Today, in the Christian world, we have the Fundamental churches, with closed communion and their own authorized forms of baptism and membership qualifications on one end. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Seeker Friendly churches where you can go, listen to some great contemporary music, hear a feel good message preached by a pastor in jeans and a tee shirt and leave feeling great about yourself..
Along with these fast growing fellowships, we have the Emergent Church, where what feels good is more important than what is good.
In the middle. struggling for members, significance and survival are the real Christian Churches, caught in the middle of class warfare, a battle for happy members instead of saved soulsÖ trying to stand firm on a fractured foundation.
I looked back on my Mormon roots and have thought, well, at least they crack the whip and donít mess in any of this nonsense. Then I did a few-month look into the Mormon Church and the many membersí blogs and forums. Wow!
I came to the conclusion that, as they push to be part of the regular Christian crowd, they have followed the path of the deviant Seeker Friendly and Emergent Church crowd and doing quite well at it. No real LDS doctrine at the pulpit and the members seem to pick and choose what makes them happy.
Members of any of these groups could attend anotherís service and feel right at home. Just donít get them into a church where the actual Biblical gospel and call to repentance is preached. We would not want to offend them. This is not the Church I grew up in.