American Protestantism and the Need for Approval…

There’s a really interesting article posted up on the White Horse Inn blog, about the trends of American “Protestant” churches abandoning their doctrinal distinctives for the sake of appealing to the culture. It all started with the focus on evangelism, the article says, but has gotten out of control with much of the American church trying to come off as “likable” to the surrounding culture.

The United Church of Christ is served up as an example in the article, of a church that has dumbed down its doctrine for the sake of being liked by the culture. I found this particularly interesting, especially where it’s mentioned that the Church of Christ abandoned its theologically sound hymnals for the sake of cultural appeal:

[T]he United Church of Christ website celebrates its cultural influence, beginning with John Winthrop’s vision of “the shining city upon a hill” to the adoption of the first non-patriarchal (read: non-trinitarian) hymnal.

Take that thought and think about our current “pop” worship music genre, where the lyrics of many songs supposedly written to be sung in church, are lyrically vague, shallow or biblically out-of-context, and mimic the musical “pop” trends of the culture (but more on this topic in a future post).

Read the article – it’s lengthy but really interesting. And the following quote sums up more of the content than I could by commenting on it.

Either the church is a witness to the Triune God, revealed consummately in the incarnate Son, clothed in his gospel; or it has no right to exist, whatever its impact, usefulness or relevance on other points.

1 Timothy 4:6-8 emphasizes the importance of “sound doctrine:”

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Amen, and amen. Let us hold fast to our good confessions of the Faith, in our preaching and in our music of the church.


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