FORM OF GODLINESS
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power, from such people turn away!
Does this passage strike a note with you? Does it possibly resemble modern trends in the christian world? Do you think Paul would be comfortable in the seeker friendly atmosphere of today’s “relevant church” movement. I hardly think so. Throughout history, church leaders have tried to “protect” people from the supernatural element of Christianity. The trend has always been to stay current with society so the crowds will be welcome. This practise goes by different names, in the 1940’s and 1950’s it was called “modernism”. In the 1990’s it was called “seeker sensitive”, today it is called “relevant”. I think Paul would call it a form of godliness without the power of God.
What separates Christianity from the other religions of the world is not our programs, slogans, or our professional presentations. What separates us is the power of God that is related to the message of the cross and the power of Pentecost. Nothing that man can generate can ever replace the power of God related to our message and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Does the supernatural power of God make some people uncomfortable? Of course it does. Is that a good reason to go in a different direction? Absolutely not. As much as the world has changed, human needs have remained the same. Our basic need is an encounter with the Living God. Christian empowerment slogans may sound good, but can never replace our need for an encounter with God Himself. Man needs more than a formula or a philosophy, we need God Himself, nothing less can ever satisfy our heart.
The question that I always think of is this, “will the Christian experience that you currently walk in sustain you in the day of trouble?”
Several years ago, we experienced a tragedy called Katrina in the New Orleans area. I was so grateful, during that season, for the unusual grace that had fallen in our church. The powerful presence of God sustained us in that season. If the unthinkable happens in the days ahead, “relevant” will suddenly become “irrelevant”. Slick presentations and slogans don’t do much when trouble is banging on your door. Evaluate where you are in your experience with God, don’t use current trends for your measuring stick, look to God’s Word to see if what you have is valid.