Marvin L. Weir
The title of this article is a sad commentary on all the people who profess to be religious while steadfastly refusing to submit to the authority of Christ. Long ago the chief priests and elders were looking for the Messiah but rejected Him and His authority when He came. Matthew records:
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question, which if ye tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multitude; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matt. 21:23-27).
The April 2, 2005 Dallas Morning News carried an article in the religious section entitled “Christians are known for what they’re against.” The article is about the “Rev.” Erwin McManus who is “pastor and “cultural architect” of Mosaic, an unconventional Southern Baptist congregation in Los Angles.” This congregation of 2,000 is comprised of mostly of young, single people who work in the film industry. The article states that McManus “sees Mosaic as a research and development arm of the church, re-envisioning Christian community in the heart of America’s imagination industry.”
Have you ever wondered how you “do church?” The article states:
The church attracts dozens of pastors each week, eager to see how Mosaic is ‘doing church.’ Worship services are held at rented spaces like the trendy Mayan nightclub. There’s no singing of traditional hymns; instead, there’s exuberant dancing, short original films or plays, and music ranging from hard rock to tranquil Japanese koto music.
In an interview with Mary Jacobs, McManus was asked: “You’ve managed to attract a segment of the population to Mosaic that many churches have trouble reaching. How?His answer:
I became convinced that people would really be attracted to Jesus Christ if they could just get past Christianity. A lot of people really like what Jesus seems to say, but they can’t figure out why he’s hanging around the Christian church. So Mosaic is an attempt to try to strip away all the stuff that is pretentious and religious and that in many ways becomes an impediment for people finding true spirituality… In America, Christians are known for what they’re against, rather than what they’re for. I think Christians have stopped believing in the power of God to change people’s lives. Which is why we tend to try to not moralize the culture. The truth of the matter is, the real key to the culture is through the human heart.
The 2,000 people who attend McManus’s church (and it is his church and not the Lord’s) may spend time with scripts for movies, but they surely do not spend any time with the Bible. Is it not amazing that McManus thinks that the Lord was clueless about how to reach today’s society?
It is true, however, that McManus attracts a segment of the population that is not interested even in the traditional denominational churches. McManus assists those who are not remotely interested in Christianity to go way past it to something that resembles the sordid movie industry they work for. Whatever one does, do not be against anything that society wants to do, and do not “moralize the culture.” No, today’s culture for the most part does not want to hear about morality or sin (Rom. 6:23; Gal. 5:19-21).
He says that “a lot of people really like what Jesus seems to say, but they can’t figure out why he’s hanging around the Christian church.” No, Mr. McManus, most people including you do not like what Jesus says (not seems to say) and therein is the root of the problem! The Lord has all authority (Matt. 28:18). He promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18), and He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28). There is only one body or church (Eph. 4:4) and Christ is the head of the body which is His church (Eph. 1:22-23).Christ was against sin, ungodly living, corrupt morals, and the scribes and Pharisees who refused to accept His authority. The unchanging Word of God condemns the liberals and modernists who refuse to build upon the only solid foundation — Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).
McManus’ brand of stripped religion comes from man and not Christ. People need to remember that they will meet the unchanging Word of God on Judgment Day (John 12:48).