Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Many people today in the Lord’s church want to be more like the “other churches” in the community in hopes of drawing new people to the congregation. There is a big difference between updating the carpet, walls, pews, and classrooms, and modifying the worship style or watering down sermons. Once the Lord’s church begins to conform, and has rejected the truth by not addressing certain topics such as alcohol, divorce and remarriage, or others biblical topics, they have conformed to the standards of the world. When a congregation no longer offers a scriptural invitation, has started “children’s” church or worship, or brought in praise teams or instruments, they have left the pattern of the early church and the commandments which direct the steps of both the individual and the congregation as a whole. These individuals and congregations have conformed, and in the process they have ceased to be the Lord’s church. Many once faithful congregations are nothing more than a “community church” with a name above their door which no longer describes the congregation’s beliefs or practices. It is possible to use technology and be modern without violating the scriptures. We must evolve, but not at the expense of “doing anything” to save the lost. Otherwise, we will become the lost we are trying to save.
Once a congregation takes that first step of leaving book, chapter and verse teaching and practice, the foundation is laid for false doctrines such as faith-only and baptism as an outward sign. I have read many accounts this year of congregations adding an instrumental service in addition to their “normal” acapella service in order to bring in the younger generation as a form of outreach. If a congregation is willing to do this, before you know it Christmas and Easter are being celebrated during worship, drama skits and entertainment replace a portion of the sermon, and small groups (like the other churches!) are started to “meet the needs” of the congregation. Why? Many call it progress, church-involvement, growth, or evangelistic outreach. In reality it is conforming to the world while leaving God’s pattern and commands. Let’s not forget 1 Sam 8:5 where God’s people wanted to be like the nations around them, and this led to numerous problems for Israel. We are a distinct group of people, God’s people, and we do not need to conform to save the lost. Those who are looking for the truth are not looking for another congregation like the one they just left. If we conform to draw the lost, our loss of distinctiveness in the Portage/Kalamazoo area will be the slow erosion of a congregation. How can we save others when we have allowed ourselves to become the lost? I am thankful that this congregation desires to always be in alignment with God’s word.