The New Confessing Church
- Thursday, October 23, 2008
It used to be that a "confessing church" was a church known for its adherence to the great theological confessions from church history. Not any more. Kensington Community Church, a seeker megachurch in suburban Detroit, is bringing a whole new meaning to “confessing church” by joining the bandwagon of churches who think the time has long passed for the church to apologize to the culture for being the church. On Sunday, October 19, 2008 this church began a weekend message series titled, “Confessions of a Sinful Church.”
The very idea of a “sinful church” is oxymoronic. Christ gave Himself for the church so that He might cleanse it with the Word of God and present it to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27), evidence that market research is defining our own perception of the church rather than the Bible.
It should be noted that this idea of begging the cultures’ pardon didn’t originate with Kensington Church. Google their series title and you’ll be introduced to a dozen or more churches across the country that have discovered the latest fad sure to increase your worship attendance created by the psychologically-driven church growth movement: be sorry—be very sorry—for preaching a gospel that rubs the culture the wrong way.
So just how has the church so offended the culture that it warrants such a public apology? Well, it seems there are variations of seven or eight sins the church is guilty of, but never more than five are ever presented by any of the churches confessing them. Evidently the attention span of today’s seeker isn’t longer than five weekends on any one subject.
In February and March of this year Rolling Hills Community Church in Danville, California confessed that the church has been self-righteous and hypocritical, supported racial segregation, mistreated homosexuals, fought bloody crusades and argued that the earth is flat.
At the end of September, Tillman Road Church of God in Fort Wayne, Indiana began a series confessing the church’s sins of being hypocritical, anti-homosexual, judgmental, sheltered, too focused on getting converts and too political.
As for Kensington, their five confessions focus on being sorry for being self-righteous hypocrites, for judging others, for despising homosexuality and for caring only about converting people.
Whoever created this package of confessions missed the point that most of these so-called “sins” are nothing more than liberal media stereotypes of conservative, evangelical, gospel-preaching churches whose real sin is offending the sensitivities of the culture by maintaining their faithfulness to the Word of God.
I’m not arguing that people who profess to be followers of Jesus have never been self-righteous, hypocritical and judgmental. There may be pockets of such behavior and a minority of local churches who fit that description. But the media has taken these exceptions and made them the standard by which all churches are defined. Kensington, along with these other churches, is encouraging you and me to apologize for a stereotype.
The fact that “research says the majority of people now view Christianity as hypocritical, intolerant and even hateful,” only proves how effective mass media is in creating perceptions. Since when do we shape our ministries in response to the latest survey of pagans by Barna Research rather than by divine revelation as revealed in sacred scripture?
Any church that takes a stand in defense of the unborn and for traditional marriage will be accused of being “too political.” Any church which has homosexuals in a list along with thieves, alcoholics and adulterers (as the word of God does—1 Corinthians 6:9-11) will be accused of mistreating homosexuals. Any church that teaches a literal six-day creation and a young earth will be viewed as archaic and out of touch with the mainstream of scientific research (read: evolutionary theory).
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