Doing community counseling as I do I am confronted with women who attend a variety of churches. They mostly come from two camps: the fundamentalist/legalistic camp or the seeker driven camp.
The fundamentalist/legalist counselee arrives with very clear knowledge of right and wrong. She knows very well the list of do's and don'ts and is able to tell you what about her does not measure up to God's requirements. She is often miserably unhappy and frustrated that she cannot "please God" and is unable to keep God's commands no matter how much she works at it.
The counselee from the seeker driven church believes God loves her and has a wonderful plan for her life. She attends church all the time and is involved in small groups and ladies Bible studies. Her faith is typically very shallow and immature.
This is what I am faced with in meeting with people from outside my own church. Please understand, I am not saying that I am the only right one, or that those who attend these churches are not godly or well intentioned but both of these churches present their own issues in a counselee.
I find the legalist/fundamentalist much easier to redirect onto the right path because many times what they have is an overactive conscience and a lack of understanding about grace. Once taught, these ladies really seem to do ok.
The ones that are much more difficult are the seeker driven attenders. A huge issue to contend with in ministering to them is many are non-regenerate. They have prayed or walked an aisle, made a decision for Christ or done any number of other things to "get saved" but I learn through the counseling process that many are not regenerated. They think they are, and they are often quite confused about why their lives have not changed at all.
This is what happens when the church is refined by prevailing culture and words like Justification, Regeneration, Sanctification, Reconciliation and so on are removed from our vocabulary and from the pulpit teaching. This is what happens when worship music is devoid of the theology of the old hymns and becomes mindless choruses that focus on how Jesus makes me feel so glad to be a Christian. The market driven ministry mindset has taken over the church in the past decade and as a result there are fewer and fewer regenerated people and more people trying to live out a salvation they do not possess.
This is a real hobby horse for me, because I have to deal with the results of this philosophy. It angers me with a righteous anger! Does the Bible describe the church as seeker driven? Where in the Bible does one find the idea of a seeker driven church? I believe that Scripture says that the church met weekly for prayer and exhortation. I find it appalling that some pastors have turned into hucksters who desire to fill their buildings by any market driven means. Some are honest enough to admit that they want to lead mega-churches. They are after a crowd and will follow any new way of doing church to get one.
The Lord Jesus had crowds of people that surrounded Him, and according to Luke 12:1 there were so many thousands of people that they began to step on one another! What do you suppose caused them to flock around Him? Was it the contemporary worship? Was it the drama troop that illustrated the sermon? Hardly.
What drew those people to the Lord Jesus Christ was the message He was bringing them. Jesus brought truth and light into the hearts of those who followed Him. I wonder why that same message is not enough anymore for some pastors...Do they think to improve upon what God Himself thought was necessary to draw men unto Himself?
Shouldn't the goal of church be to preach the Word in and out of season? It is the Word of God applied to the human heart that changes mankind not some market driven strategy. No one will be tricked into entering the kingdom of heaven friends, but many who expect to arrive there will be sadly surprised as to where they arrive upon taking their last breath.
I risk writing this to you today because I am so deeply concerned about churches that do not rightly divide the Word of Truth. I see the problems this causes in the lives of men and women and their families all the time and all I can do is one small part to see that it stops.
Before I let you go for today think about this: The message that Jesus taught both drew and repelled people who followed Him. There came a point in His earthly ministry where many who had followed Him started to leave because the message was no longer appealing to them. They were convicted or simply didn't want to hear that their lifestyle was sinful, and that their hearts were deceitfully wicked. In the end, only 12 remained and He asked them if they would leave too (John 6) . He was teaching truth and truth was enough to separate those who would believe from those who would not.
Another example would be Paul who said he did not use clever words and human wisdom (1 Cor.1:17) to present Christ, just the truth.
Truth is what the church is to be concerned with, not market strategy or the numbers of people that attend. Is your pastor faithful to the content of the Bible? Does he hold the authority of Scripture? Does he replace the Bible with his own opinions? if he is not preaching the Scriptures but instead giving you clever stories or emotionalism to affect a person the clearly reveals what he believes is authoritative.
This bypasses intellectual defenses. You cannot bypass how people think and arrive at salvation. There is a battle for the mind in the church today ladies! Only the truth of the Bible can affect the mind and heart (2 Cor 10:5 ). Any ministry that is not focused on affecting your mind is going to have many false conversions. Be sure you are truly regenerate!