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Evangelical Worship Is Too Cheerful, Neglects Sin, Theologian Says

 

By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post Reporter 

 

MIAMI BEACH – Worship services in evangelical churches do not mention sin, a major part of the Gospel message, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, said Monday at the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Faith Angle Forum.

"In very many evangelical and confessionally Reformed churches these days, sin is a rare topic," he said.

 

He came to this conclusion from his experience of speaking in different churches most Sundays for the past 30 years, talking to evangelical friends, observing the content of worship music used by evangelical churches, and reading the books and articles of Dr. David Wells, distinguished senior research professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Plantinga explained to the conference of journalists.

 

Anglicans, Catholics and Lutherans continue to include confession or a rite of penitence as a regular part of their worship services, he noted. But in evangelical and Reformed churches, he sees "less and less" sin-related material every year.

 

Over 158,000 churches in North America get the music for their worship services from Christian Copyright Licensing International, Plantinga explained. CCLI provides a valuable service to churches by streamlining the process of obtaining licenses for their worship music. Churches can pay a single fee and obtain all the licenses from CCLI's library.

 

Looking at the content of CCLI songs, Plantinga observed that there are "very few penitential songs." The "biblical tradition of lament, which is all through the prophets and the Psalms is gone, just not there," he said.

 

One of the reasons Plantinga believes evangelical worship leaves out sin is a desire to be "seeker friendly" and avoid topics that may turn off non-Christians or new Christians.

 

"Mindful that seekers come to church in American no-fault culture in which tolerance is a big virtue and intolerance a big vice, worship finders in evangelical churches often want nothing in the service that sounds judgmental," he said. And for that reason "lots of evangelical churches these days are unrelievedly cheerful."

 

Quoting Wells, Plantinga argued that leaving sin out of worship is consistent with the theology of many evangelical churches in which "God is on easy terms with modernity" and mostly concerned with "church growth and psychological wholeness."

 

The Apostle Paul would not feel welcome in many evangelical churches today, he added. "Where is [Paul's] easy smile? Why does he want to discipline people? Why is he so doggone dogmatic? Where are the stories in his sermons? And where does he get off implying that the woman singing special music in church should not do so while also lying on top of the church piano?"

 

During the panel's question and answer period, Plantinga clarified that he is not only talking about non-denominational congregations but the "old confessional Protestant forms" as well, such as the Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, and United Presbyterian Church.

 

This was not always the case with evangelical churches, Plantinga explained. "They used to be champions of the holiness of God, of contrition for sins against God's holiness, and therefore grace that justifies sinners," but "a lot of that has dissipated."

 

When churches leave the topic of sin out of worship, they are not relevant to the lives of their congregants, Plantinga believes, because people encounter sin and sin's consequences daily.

 

"Ceasingly cheerful worship does not fit with the lives of people who come to worship," he said. "... Churches that silence the biblical message of sin and grace simply aren't anywhere near where people actually live their lives, including people in their own congregations."

 

The theme of sin is more often found in movies and TV, Plantinga added, as Hollywood screenwriters display a consciousness of sin and evil through the stories they tell.

"Screenwriters are old fashioned people," he said. "They don't go to church so they have never learned that personal guilt for wrongdoing has become passÉ."

 

Twice a year, a select group of about 20 journalists are invited to EPPC's Faith Angle Forum for discussions with experts on topics related to the intersection of religion and public life. Other panels at this week's Forum included discussions about Pope Francis and the culture wars. Transcripts and audio of the panels will be made available on EPPC's website.

 

http://www.christianpost.com/n...ologian-says-116945/

 

 

Last edited by INVICTUS
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Vic, my Friend,

 

Two thoughts immediately come to mind:

 

1.  Do YOU ever have an original thought of your own?  Or, is your mind totally filled with what OTHERS write?

 

2.  This man, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, is from the Calvin Theological Seminary, a seminary affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

 

He should be happy with the Joel Osteen theology of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" school of evangelism.  For, as the article said, there are many supposed evangelical churches which are really only "Feel Good" churches.  And, Osteen's church is at the top of that list.


Keep in mind that Calvinism, i.e., Reform Theology, teaches that -- BEFORE THE CREATION -- God had already decided who would be saved, the Elect -- and who would be condemned to eternal hell with no chance for salvation in this life, the Reprobate.

 

They call this Predestination, which in Reform Theology, i.e., Five Point Calvinism (TULIP), means that no one can, of his/her own free will, choose to follow Christ and be saved.  In their teaching, that was determined for us -- before the Creation and before any of us were born.

 

Given that -- if a person truly believes that teaching -- what would be the purpose of Evangelical witnessing?  The decision has already been made -- and no one can change it. 

 

If you were predestined to be saved -- you would be saved, regardless.

 

If you were predestined to go to hell -- you will go to hell, regardless.

 

So, where is the need for evangelism?

 

However, since I KNOW (from the Bible) that Calvinist Predestination is a false teaching -- I do believe in sharing the Word of God and evangelizing the unsaved.   When can you and I get together?

 

Vic, I would be so thrilled to see you actually begin a discussion with something you have written, based upon you own knowledge of the Bible.   That would be so refreshing.   But, my Friend, I will not hold my breath waiting for it.

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

 

2 Timothy 4-5 - Oldest Tree

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Last edited by Bill Gray
Originally Posted by Road Puppy:
Originally Posted by Bill Gray:

 

 

1.  Do YOU ever have an original thought of your own?  Or, is your mind totally filled with what OTHERS write?

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

Now WHERE have I heard THOSE words before..... Hmmmm..

 

 Every time he doesn't like the message or the truth is his enemy and

he had rather not see it.

 

Vic, my Friend,

 

You write of me, " Every time he doesn't like the message or the truth is his enemy and he had rather not see it."

 

No, my Friend, what I want to see is what is on YOUR mind, not what someone else has written.  I want to know what you think -- not what someone else thinks.

 

But, maybe, we really are seeing what is in your mind -- NOTHING from you!  Maybe your mind is a vacuum which you must fill by the words of others.   Sad, but possibly true.

 

And, maybe that is why the Roman Catholic church also appeals to you -- you can just sit and let the Vatican pour what it wants into your mind.   Why do I say this?   Because for 20 years, I did the same.  I attended the Roman Catholic church -- because I did not have to think, I could just attend mass, hold my Missal and Rosary firmly in my hands, nod to all the statues around the church -- and then go out and do what I wanted for the rest of the week.

 

But, praise God, I found a real pastor and a real church that would tell me the truth about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and salvation.   And, with them, I did not need to just open the top of my head and allow them to pour in their thoughts -- I was encouraged to study the Bible and gain my own understanding of God and His Written Word.   Praise God for true Christianity!

 

Someday, Vic, my Friend -- I pray that you, too, truly find eternal life in Christ -- through a Christian fellowship.   I can recommend good churches in your area -- if you are ready to do YOUR own thinking and studying.

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

Bible - Read Me

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Someday, Vic, my Friend -- I pray that you, too, truly find eternal life in Christ -- through a Christian fellowship.   I can recommend good churches in your area -- if you are ready to do YOUR own thinking and studying.

 

 You poor misguided and void of logic idiot. Must be tough for you to wear

 those blinders of stupidity. You don't know a good church.

  

Last edited by INVICTUS
Originally Posted by Bill Gray:

Vic, my Friend,

 

You write of me, " Every time he doesn't like the message or the truth is his enemy and he had rather not see it."

 

No, my Friend, what I want to see is what is on YOUR mind, not what someone else has written.  I want to know what you think -- not what someone else thinks.

 

But, maybe, we really are seeing what is in your mind -- NOTHING from you!  Maybe your mind is a vacuum which you must fill by the words of others.   Sad, but possibly true.

 

And, maybe that is why the Roman Catholic church also appeals to you -- you can just sit and let the Vatican pour what it wants into your mind.   Why do I say this?   Because for 20 years, I did the same.  I attended the Roman Catholic church -- because I did not have to think, I could just attend mass, hold my Missal and Rosary firmly in my hands, nod to all the statues around the church -- and then go out and do what I wanted for the rest of the week.

 

But, praise God, I found a real pastor and a real church that would tell me the truth about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and salvation.   And, with them, I did not need to just open the top of my head and allow them to pour in their thoughts -- I was encouraged to study the Bible and gain my own understanding of God and His Written Word.   Praise God for true Christianity!

 

Someday, Vic, my Friend -- I pray that you, too, truly find eternal life in Christ -- through a Christian fellowship.   I can recommend good churches in your area -- if you are ready to do YOUR own thinking and studying.

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

Bible - Read Me

=========================

I don't believe for a minute you were ever involved in the Catholic Church like you say you were.

Why should a deep-dyed Calvinist (i.e. tunnel-visioned fatalist heretic) like Platinga care what is or is not preached and taught in any church?  His theology teaches that God cooked all the books before any of us or any other humans ever walked the Earth--the doomed will be da mned and the undoomed will be saved and nothing either the doomed or the undoomed do will ever change those assignments of destinies. The theist, Thomas Jefferson, rightly singled out Calvinism, of all the belief systems of his era, as the most ridiculous!.

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