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Concerning Modern "Churches"

Every day it seems like people are finding more ways to mess up the Church. It takes about five seconds on YouTube and one can find videos of “church services” where people are dressed up like cartoon characters, football players, and other such nonsense. Another five seconds and one can find “pastors” performing all kinds of stunts to try to entertain the masses. This is on top of those “pastors” who have compromised their position by catering to groups who promote sin; from the LGBTQ+ crowd to racist groups such as BLM these supposed spiritual leaders have allowed the culture to dictate what they preach.


Never, in all the past two thousand years, has there been such an onslaught against the truth of the Word of God. Never has there been such an outpouring of evil from the pulpits of the world, and yes, I know that it is mostly right here in the United States. That, in my opinion, makes it a thousand times worse. In a nation where we have such freedom of expression where it comes to religion and religious thought, in a nation that is overflowing with churches of every denomination, one would think that we would know better. Unfortunately, it seems that we do not.


Just to be clear, I am not talking about any programs that churches have for children where a certain amount of entertainment is somewhat expected in order to keep their attention for more than five minutes while trying to teach them a story from the Bible. I am not talking about theatrical performances where people pay to see a play or musical. I am talking about church services being turned into circus performances because the churches are led by irreverent, overgrown children who do not meet any qualifications for the office they are filling.


Let me list just a few examples here.


Mike Todd


First, we have Mike Todd. Mike Todd is one of the lead pastors of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is no stranger to false teaching or irreverent shenanigans. One of his false doctrines that he teaches is the prosperity gospel. That’s right, Mike Todd teaches the “name it and claim it” teachings that “God wants you to be healthy and wealthy” just like other heretics out there. He may not be as prominent about it, but a careful listening to his “sermons” will reveal this teaching.


Another false teaching that he spreads is the heresy of modalism. This one may not be as prominent in his teachings and it may have been an accident on his part, although I have yet to see him come out and make any kind of statement retracting this teaching. In one of his more prominent videos, Mike Todd is seen on stage at his church with three containers. He is attempting to explain the triune Godhead using water as a visual aid (we will get to this issue in a moment) and instead he falls into the trap of teaching modalism, as well as showing his failure to understand simple chemistry. The analogy of God being like water goes like this, just like water is found in three different forms, liquid, solid, and gas, God can be seen as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Where the analogy falls flat is that God is always Father, always Son, and always Holy Spirit; He doesn’t appear as one or the other at different times, the way a molecule of water can be. To show this Mike Todd uses ice, liquid water, and dry ice which he then pours water over to make vapor symbolizing the gaseous form of water…except dry ice is solidified carbon dioxide, not H2O. Not only does the analogy fall flat, so does his understanding of science, the third object in his lesson is not even the same substance as the ice or liquid water.


While his teaching is horrible, his theatrics are worse. One video shows him spitting into his hand and rubbing it onto his brother’s face. Another video shows him falling backward into a pool of water while “preaching” on the story of Naaman. Still another video shows him pouring syrup and whipped cream all over the stage, a mock-up of a church, and even a Bible. This is not even counting the Easter and Christmas plays that Transformation Church has put on the past few years. If you can stomach the horrendous blasphemy that those videos are, go watch them and judge for yourself.


The worst part about all of these things is that nobody stops him from doing these things. Nobody has enough theological sense, or common sense, to say, “Maybe we shouldn’t be putting on such a show in the church. Maybe we should just preach the Bible and see what happens.”


Steven Furtick


Second, we are going to talk about Steven Furtick. I have discussed him before, but he just keeps going further and further down the rabbit hole that he needs to brought up again. His latest, as of the time of this writing, act of dumbness is the outright bizarre attempt to exegete the section heading of a portion of Scripture. I am not joking as much as I wish I were. Steven Furtick spends an extraordinary amount of time discussing a man-made and added section heading, tearing it apart word-by-word, and talking about how he would change it. If he would spend half the amount of time on Scripture, that he does on these silly little side notes he might understand the Scripture enough to know that his teachings are heretical and that he needs to get away from the people he hangs out with. Also, maybe about five minutes a day on wardrobe choices would help boost his image a little, in my opinion.


Crossroads Church


The third, and final, group I am going to discuss today (believe me there are a lot more out there, these are just the most prominent in a five second YouTube scan) is Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. A quick scan of their YouTube channel shows a litany of insanity. They are obviously a seeker-sensitive, prosperity driven church, which we already know is a major issue. Some of the videos show the pastor dressed as an elf, yes, a pastor dressed as a Christmas elf to present a Christmas sermon. They apparently have a horse trainer come in and do some talks, with a live horse in the church. They use a lot of props and backdrops in their preaching.

However, the most egregious issue that has blown people away is their video from their “Superbowl of Preaching” service which featured one of their pastors kicking a Bible that is in a cover that looks like a football. The Bible went into the congregation, somewhere, and not to the person who was supposed to receive it. This is in the same video where the worship team covers songs by a lot of secular artists whose music has no place in the church. Including a cover of “Wrecking Ball” with one of the church’s pastors recreating the scene from the music video where the singer famously swings on a wrecking ball.


Conclusion


“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” – Charles H. Spurgeon


These “churches,” and others like them, should not call themselves by that name. They have left behind the meaning of the name church, if they ever had it, and have become entertainment centers for the mindless masses.


Spurgeon’s words have become more true today than they ever could have in his day. With the rise of social media, streaming, and every church having their own website, people can pick and choose which entertainment group they want to watch, whenever they want to watch them.


2 Timothy 3:16-4:4 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 


We should take Spurgeon and Paul together as a warning and bring back the idea that the church is the feeding ground of the sheep, the true people of God. It is not a stage where people come to be entertained. The Bible is the Holy Scripture from which we learn who God is and how to live a life that is pleasing to Him. It is not a prop to be thrown, kicked, or misused in theatrical performances.


Instead of “pastors” acting like clowns, we need men who are willing to stand up for the truth of the Word. We need those who are willing to be bold in their stance. We need more men like Martyn Lloyd-Jones who, when he arrived at his church to take over as pastor, nailed the pulpit to the floor so it could not be moved. His church was known for having big theatrical performances and he took a stand on the Word of God. Out with the theatrics and in with the Word. His bold stance proved to be exactly the right prescription as he is known as one of the twentieth century’s greatest preachers.


We are living in a time in which more preachers need to take their stand on the Word of God and let the theatrics and entertainment pass away, or perhaps be driven out of the church as Jesus drove out the money changers from the Temple. Without the preaching of the Word there is no true feeding of the flock of God.

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