R. Scott Clark says of this video (at the bottom) on his blog, “Who Says the Evangelicals Don’t Have a Liturgy?” As much as we Evangelicals have tried to eschew the “traditional” styles of church, it seems we’ve merely replaced it with newer styles that are 3 inches deep. This is one of many reasons why so many are leaving these kinds of churches for 1) nothing, 2) the Roman Catholic church, or 3) other traditional-style Protestant churches (Reformed and otherwise) that don’t take the worship service so casually, as if they weren’t approaching the throne of God. In other words, if everything is holy (or set apart for special use, the whole secular/sacred wall break-down assumption that seems to be running rampant) and there’s nothing sacred (like a worship service) then nothing is.
I believe there needs to be reverential awe when we come together before God’s throne corporately (and privately), knowing Him to be the very God Isaiah, Ezekiel, Job and John (Revelation 1) approached, and at the same time, the gentle Shepherd who saves His people mercifully through the cross and resurrection. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) In many of these churches, you don’t get the feeling the people are in awe of God, just emotionally jazzed up, the same way you are at a concert of your choosing.
Now this isn’t a blanket assumption concerning every Evangelical church that incorporates many of the things in this video, as there are obviously fine exceptions to the rule out there (as Michael Horton has pointed out on the White Horse Inn radio show). But I think this encapsulates much of the cynicism, frustration and fake-ness many in my generation, as well as unbelievers outside the church, see on the inside of the church, even in many of its current, trendy manifestations.
This video is funny because, well, it’s all too true. And then again, it’s not so funny because it points out some serious flaws. I find it ironic that in trying to turn the corner from the mega-seeker type of churches, many in my generation (emergent-types and otherwise) have simply reinvented it. Yet it contains all of the same assumptions and principles, theologically speaking, about how people are saved and the point of a church service, which is the edification and strengthening of the people of God through Word (Gospel) and sacrament, and unbelievers coming and being born again by the working of God, not man through various manipulative methods.
We desperately need to get back to what Michael Horton calls for in this series of talks related to his book The Gospel-Driven Life, which is a church service without all the bells and whistles to try and “draw” people in (the whole seeker assumption). We need to rely on God’s Spirit to make seekers, using His Word and a people radically transformed by the Gospel in church (and in their personal lives) who willingly and freely want to take that message out to the world. We need the Word rightly and clearly articulated, Gospel-proclamation by the preacher in exegetical preaching, sacrament, and genuine worship that is deeply theological (engaging your mind) instead of only emotionally-based, combining the two and being intentional about it. I think this hits the nail on the head concerning much of the church in its current state in America.