Everyone has come across the Christian radio station K-love at one time or another. You’ll hear the sappy lyrics of Corey Ashbury’s “Reckless Love” and 7eventh Time Down’s “Just Say Jesus.” You’ll probably keep scanning through the channels without a second thought. For those who claim to follow Christ, the radio has become a source of popular Christian songs which you’ll inevitably sing that Sunday in church. It’s irrelevant whether these songs are uniquely Christian, are theologically sound, or directly glorify Christ. The songs will enchant you with their catchy chord progressions, their built-up bridges, and simple-to-remember lyrics. Like clockwork, the church acquiesces to the song of the day. The songs have the appearance of being Christian but really are no more than secular moralism wrapped up in “Christian” language. Many people think these songs are “Christian” based on the simple fact that the songs don’t have cuss words, mention the name of Jesus, or have a Bible verse attached. The church has become superficial, sentimental, and sinfully ignorant. After years and subsequently decades of this type of singing and preaching, you mold the goats and the sheep into K-love Christians.
The superficiality of the modern church is first exhibited in the sermons we hear. Sadly, our places of worship are filled with many unbelievers and believers with little to no knowledge, wisdom, or maturity. The apostle Paul writes to the church in Colossae, “Him (being Christ) we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Everyone. For the proper solution to be derived, we must first correctly diagnose the problem. Why are there so many “baby” Christians and goats in our pews? My explanation is this: the Bible is not taught, explained, expounded, and fed to the sheep in the congregation. For those of The Way, the Scriptures should dictate every aspect our lives and particularly our conduct in the church. Did Christ not say, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4)? If we simply asked the question, “What does the Bible say?” we would stray far less from the mandates of heaven. Instead, we often see the preacher speak on a topic that suits their current spiritual state or coincides with the happenings of the day. Additionally, many preachers skim over the Scriptures because they mistakenly, or naively, think that there is something better than what is contained on the pages of Scripture. The Bible is not exciting enough or sufficient to conform the sheep. In practice they preach superficially because they believe there is a better way to “experience” God outside of exposition of the Scriptures. Instead of digging deep into the Scriptures, they bring their own ideas to the church. Therefore, many of the points or conclusions they espouse could be made completely without the Scriptures. In fact, through experiential living one could come to similar realizations as these pastors. Because there is a lack of Biblical literacy and understanding, we are left with a generation that holds to a theology like the theologian J.I. Packer describes, “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
The superficiality from the pulpit, in all its aspects, where the Word of God is no longer central, has predictably precipitated into the songs we sing. Our modern Christian songs have more to do with sentimentality than spirituality. The second problem with our church services are the sentimental songs. The pithy statements from catchy choruses’ lyrics like “Just Say Jesus” show the level of depth in our churches. With its lack of any statements regarding God’s character or accomplishments and almost total focus on self, worshippers are left to sing about things an unbeliever already thinks. The American evangelical church has totally abandoned any desire to make churchgoers convicted of their sin and instead, the church hopes to make everyone feel comfortable in every aspect of the service. Are we so prideful to think that we can manipulate our worship music and church service in such a way that it will have more of an effect to change a sinner’s heart than the Holy Spirit of God? Furthermore, it seems that many of the songs the church sings presupposes everyone is going through deep internal or external suffering and is just barely holding on. The church of old stands in stark contrast to the K-love Christians that pervade the modern church. The Christians who died in the Coliseum eaten by lions and burned brightly as human torches in Rome laugh at the “suffering” of Christians today. We experience great freedom and security in the United States and I am in no way ashamed of that. Nonetheless, our faith has become filled with excessive emotion and nostalgia. The songs we sing and the pep-talk sermons we hear are indicators that our faith is weak and ultimately built on sand. Do not be surprised, Christian, when suffering comes that we realize these songs and sermons will mean nothing to us.
Because the preaching is superficial and the songs sentimental, the church has developed an allergy to preaching on sin. In its shallow view of love and kindness, the preacher often leaves sin out of church. The church has become sinfully ignorant. Sin, to the modern church, is an external force causing trouble in the world and sinful individuals have bad “habits” they need to break. All responsibility is divulged to this outside enemy, “sin.” My brother David has an excellent blog article on how the Bible defines sin. Sin seems to be affecting humanity from the outside. Did not Jesus say it is what comes out of a man’s mouth that defiles him Matthew 15:11? Did not James say “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you?” I do not mean to say that there are no external evils at work. However, I do mean to say that sin’s primary domain is in the heart and mind. Sin first and foremost must be put to death at the thought level. It is not an external force that I can blame my wrongdoings on. Sinfully ignorant preaching with sinless victims pervades the pulpit because Biblical preaching will offend too many people and cause them to leave the church. It ultimately leaves Christians devoid of their command to grow in sanctification and sinners in their despondent state.
My point in saying all this is that if this sounds like your church, the first thing you should do is pray. Pray and examine the normative happenings at your church as well as yourself. Compare your church and your own heart to the Scriptures to ensure your motives are pure. Ensure the Bible is central to every aspect of why and how the church conducts itself. If you have concerns, go to your elders respectfully and biblically. However, should they not listen after a time, go to another church that preaches the Bible faithfully. Find a church where the gospel and the Bible is sufficient. If your church refuses to conform to true biblical teaching leave the K-love Christian church, you will not grow there. You will not find the spiritual nourishment you need (Colossians 1: 9-12). The Bible should be the driving force and the defining element as to how the church carries out its every function, from the sermons we hear right down to the music we sing.
Rachel is a wife and mother of four young children. She has a love for listening to expository preaching, theology, and doctrine. She desires to make Christ known through her marriage, parenting, and in every word and deed.