Monday, March 11, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?
Things the Church doesn’t need.

  • Celebrity Christians
  • Christian Celebrities
  • Arena Worship
  • Entertainment Metaphors

“Doesn’t need” in the sense that God’s kingdom work doesn’t require them.
“Doesn’t need” in the sense that they are at least as likely to harm as to help the church.
“Doesn’t need” in the sense that they have no mooring in the biblical description of or instruction about the church.
“Doesn’t need” in the sense that they seem neither to be either growing or sanctifying the church, nor making an impact on our society.

Ken Myers said it best in All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, an exploration of the thesis: the old holiness movement's caution, “in the world but not of it,” has become evangelicalism’s “of the world but not in it.” We do well to heed his proposal, first published nearly 25 years ago: “We would do much better to make the church a living example of alternatives to the methods and messages of popular culture.” Note methods, and consider messages. In case we haven’t noticed, popular culture needs an alternative, and needs it badly.


Eric Joseph Rubio said...


I agree in general with your points. A couple of questions, though:

1. How do you define "arena worship"? At what point do we cross from "large auditorium" to "arena"? I presume that your point refers to the *mentality* of arena worship, and not the actual venue of the worship service?

2. Regarding entertainment metaphors: what about excellence in production values? Again, where would you draw the line?

Chuck King said...

Yes, absolutely, I am concerned about the mentality of the event, regardless of venue. Mostly, in view of Ken Myers' observation, I worry about the mentality walking back into youth group meetings. (This has been happening for over a generation now.)
As for entertainment metaphors, "God's dance floor" is one that recently showed up in a report about a very popular worship song writer. Other pet peeves (and I hope it is more than that) are subtle things that blur the lines: stage in place of chancel, for example.
Ultimately, I think we need a more clear theology of entertainment, which I think will help us sort out some of the worship issues/questions. (i.e. isn't it OK to be entertained without dragging God's name into it? And if we are using God to entertain us, isn't there a commandment about that?)

Jeff Wencel said...

Good post.