I assume many will not agree, and most will not understand my frustration and anger, but that is what makes this post necessary . . . so, man-up, or go back to your children's Christmas program . . .
(First, a note of qualification: I think children's programs, plays, musicals, etc. are very good and should be performed in churches. We had the children sing and do the hand motions to a couple of Christmas songs this morning in our church. It was cute. The children were animated and sang loud. The songs were biblical and had a message. Parents smiled and grandparents took photos. Some documented the event with video. But, then we had a message that was focused on teaching the scripture to the believer.)
I didn't think anything about it, until I called four of my sons who I had left at home to attend, what had been reported to me as, a "Bible teaching church" in Waukee. I drive 81 miles one way to get to the church I preach at. We have been doing this for over six years. Two of my boys were home from college for the holidays and a couple of them needed to be at work by noon to wait on tables. Leaving our house for my church at 9:00 AM and getting home about 3:00 PM was not an option for them this week. I told them just to skip going with me. Instead, I'd like to have them visit this new, Bible teaching church in Waukee. I had heard good things about it from a couple of pastors involved with the church. So, the four of them willingly agreed to go. (Yes, really, they don't mind attending church and learning the word of God).
Now, at my church this morning we had a brief time after the announcements for the children to sing a couple of songs. There were a few extra people that came to hear their children sing. I know that is why these adults came, because when the children were finished singing the adults of some of the children (parents, grandparents, guardians, or whoever) just stood up and left. I have no problem with that. It shows integrity on their part. It shows they are not intimidated by social standards and are not going to feel guilty about walking out of a church service. It's the American way. Freedom! It did not bother me that they left before I spoke. Not at all. I would have bored them and made them emotionally, morally and physically (since, I spoke for about an hour) uncomfortable. I do not mind. I do that four times a week.
At the same time this was going on, my boys found themselves in Waukee in an advertised "Bible Teaching Church" sitting through over an hour long children's program with no Bible teaching. When I heard this I was ticked (meaning in the English "greatly upset" or "to the point of anger," also "mad" or "peeved"). I already consider most churches in the USA as worthless, a waste of spiritual energy and, often, deceitful to the point that we need Wycliffe, Zwingli, Calvin and Luther for another Reformation. I do not understand how a pastor could allow the Sunday morning service with the second largest attendance of the year be dedicated to the worship of little children singing and people doing skits. In my mind it is wrong. It is corrupt. It borders on idolatry. It makes me want to vomit when I hear this. But, what really irks me the most is that I sent four of my boys (ages 14, 17, 19 and 21) to visit this church because I had heard, that compared to the other churches, this one was a "Bible teaching church." Next week I am going to send them all back to this church again and ask for a report concerning the teaching of the word. My guess is that, at best, this church is going to be a church that flashes a verse on the big screen, tells a couple of storys, and then makes some pseudo-application to the Christian life.
Well, anyway, Merry Christmas. If you hurry you can still catch a Sunday evening Christmas program . . .