“Only dead fish swim with the stream,” was the wisdom of British journalist and Roman Catholic convert Malcolm Muggeridge. We live in a time when now more than ever the so-called progressive elements of all churches are promoting accommodation with culture and even following the cultural lead in essential areas of marriage, family, sexual identity, gender, abortion, etc... Add to that the evangelicals who are helping Americans find happiness, better jobs, more satisfying lives, better sex, and a God whose chief goal is helping them make their best life now. The water of the Christian world is increasingly fouled with dead fish who do not swim but merely float along on the current of public opinion and cultural "advances."
We face them in our own church. These are the folks who constantly remind us that we must do this or change that or we will die. They use the statistics of demographics and they equate many of the possible responses as neutral when they are anything but neutral. Far from helping the Church recover her stride, the adoption of agendas from the wants and desires of people, the use of marketing to promote an earthly kingdom instead of the Gospel and a heavenly eternal reality, and the focus on improving life now will not breathe new life into the Church but suck the life of Christ right out of the Church. The only fish who float along with the stream are the dead ones. The churches who follow the voice of the individual or culture over the Word of God are sick, dying, or already dead.
Christ has not called us to be passive toward the world but to proclaim the radical Kingdom of God that comes by the Word to plant faith in the hearer and endow them with the new life that may seem hidden today but revealed in eternity. The Kingdom of God is not where we make it or where we want it to be but where the Word and Sacraments impart forgiveness, life, and salvation in Christ alone.
A congregation eventually must decide whether it wants to be successful
or faithful. Successful means they are trying every new trend to fill
the pews such as praise bands and video screens. Faithful means they
are remaining loyal to the Word of God as they proclaim the Good News
Of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, our current culture believes that great
success is possible through human efforts. However, if the church caves
in to the culture, then it adopts material goals instead of spiritual
ones. To pretend that abortion, same sex marriage are God pleasing is
to replace the truth of Scripture with the popular trends of our time.
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