Mainstream Christianity in USA is dying (survey)

@HermeticAlly

Joel osteen and ilk and Hillsong qualifies. It doesnt seem quite right compared to more solemn churches like the EO.

It remains to be seen how they fare.
 
@Athanasius
Interesting. It seems no traditional high church is immune from subversion.

Even the SSPX community that is advertised recently full of traditional catholics I believe wouldnt be immune either.

Subverters like locusts continously look for said communities to subvert. The more visible the more of them there are.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
hervens said:
I believe the biggest threat we're facing is not necessarily the fall of the traditional christian church, but the birth of a new type of mainstream church.

A church that's exciting and invigorating. A church that attempts to "fix" the problems of the old church and make all feel welcomed regardless of political or moral position. A church where scripture is twisted slightly in a way to appease the masses, and a church that gets applauses from the community for their support of women's rights and the LGBT movement.

To back up what I'm saying, I occasionally attend service at one of these up and coming non-denomitional Christian churches in my city.

Attendance has been skyrocketing especially with the millennial generation (18 - 34). Free coffee is served throughout the entire service, live heavy rock "christian" music, and the church has arrangements with a local bar where we’re invited to meet afterwards to mingle.
At first I thought to myself, wow, what an amazing way to get people back to Christ, but after multiple services I slowly started seeing the deep hidden deception in these new Christian movements. The devil wants to be worshiped, and he’ll get his way one way or the other.

Peter 5:8 (KJV)
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"

"During a time when we’re seeing a decline in congregations at more traditional churches across the nation, the megachurch seems to be attracting more and more people"
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/11/21/megachurches-continue-to-grow-in-popularity/

You're right, but just fyi, this is a trend that's been going on for years. And it just keeps getting more and more dumbed down... thus stuff like Hillsong.

I really would like to see my conservative protestant/evangelical brethren ditch this garbage-- the light shows, the skinny jeans pastor, the shallow Nashville praise choruses, vapid 20-minute homilies, etc., and return to historic liturgies (Calvin's were based heavily on early church practice), strong preaching, the great creeds and confessions of faith, psalters, and hymnals that distill 20 centuries of great music instead of the last 10-20 years of bad music. In short, a confessional faith. There are churches like this, but alas, it's the minority today.

But, keep in mind that all this worldly soy-infested garbage among conservative protestants/evangelicals is 50 or so years old and really just became a majority probably 30 years ago. It was never the historic practice of the churches going back hundreds of years to the Reformation.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I have had conversations with People who still attend Church that definitely can give a luke warm feeling.

Some of the older people, while still keeping with the tradition, don't really believe in the dogma anymore. I had a conversation with some ladies in their 70s and 80s recently which caused me to wonder about whether these people were indeed losing faith (assuming they had it once).

I would encourage Christians our age to be vigilant and engaging with their parents regarding religion, pray with them and tell them that you believe also. It is irresponsible to take anyone's salvation for granted but as the Seniors pass through their final years, there are some difficult times in holding onto an orthodox faith. Imagine worrying about the faith of all your children knowing that most or none are totally prostrate? It is a huge temptation to stray or loosen up beliefs to ease the conscience when none of your children go to Church or practice their faith.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
Roosh said:
The megachurch is just a low-priced concert that gives you transient good feelings. They avoid talk of hell, enduring suffering, or self-examination.

That's true of many of them, Osteen being one of the worst. But it varies over a wide scale. John MacArthur has a large church and he doesn't shy away from letting people have it.

Megachurches do tend to lack subscription to confessions, and they are so large they can end up with difficulties in properly shepherding their people, which they then try to tackle via small groups and a program. One of the draws for some people to large churches is more anonymity (not good). The other issue with big ministries is that men can become kingdom-builders of their own kingdom rather than Christ's. Parachurch celebrities are often even worse, especially as the persecution increases and many take the easy ("woke" and/or non-confrontational) way out.
 
Athanasius said:
You're right, but just fyi, this is a trend that's been going on for years. And it just keeps getting more and more dumbed down... thus stuff like Hillsong.

I really would like to see my conservative protestant/evangelical brethren ditch this garbage-- the light shows, the skinny jeans pastor, the shallow Nashville praise choruses, vapid 20-minute homilies, etc., and return to historic liturgies (Calvin's were based heavily on early church practice), strong preaching, the great creeds and confessions of faith, psalters, and hymnals that distill 20 centuries of great music instead of the last 10-20 years of bad music. In short, a confessional faith. There are churches like this, but alas, it's the minority today.

But, keep in mind that all this worldly soy-infested garbage among conservative protestants/evangelicals is 50 or so years old and really just became a majority probably 30 years ago. It was never the historic practice of the churches going back hundreds of years to the Reformation.

And I have been starting to discover. The scriptures are the blueprint of the liturgy especially the manifestation of symbolism laid out in the scriptures:

It is not only a book to be read only as literal many protestants are beginning to rediscover.

If scripture is the script the liturgy is the scripture put into practice. The Word made Flesh.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Interesting thing about Hillsong is I get all these different contradictory opinions about them from different people. The people I know who were raised in the church and are still active have the same criticisms that the people here have about them - that they are just another "seeker friendly" lukewarm church that avoids controversial topics in order to attract as large of a crowd as possible. On the other hand, the secular people refer to them as a super conservative church but only with more trendy outward appearances. At Hillsong NYC there was some controversy when it was found out that two members of the worship band were in a gay relationship together. Both members were removed from the team. They are trying to balance between reaching out to people who normally who would never go to a church (pretty much all of their churches are located in super secular cities) but at trying to stay true to Christian doctrine which means they draw a lot of fire from both sides.

As an example of what I'm talking about - check out these two different articles. One is from a conservative Reformed church criticizing Hillsong for being "pro LGBT"

https://reformationcharlotte.org/20...-lgbt-stance-in-statement-released-yesterday/

And here's the Daily Beast saying they have an "ultra conservative stance on gays"

https://www.thedailybeast.com/sex-a...rk-past-of-justin-biebers-megachurch-hillsong'

Here's the Hillsong pastors statement on it homosexuality

https://hillsong.com/media-releases/hillsong-church-statement-by-senior-pastor-brian-houston/

I wish to correct reports that Hillsong church has “an openly gay couple directing a choir” at our New York City campus. Hillsong’s position on homosexuality and gay marriage has not changed and is consistent with Scripture. As I have stated previously, I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject. Several months ago when one of our choir directors made an unexpected public statement regarding his engagement to a man who sometimes sang in the choir, it was a complete surprise to us as well. It is my understanding that they have not been involved in an active leadership or ministry role since. That said, we still love them and acknowledge that they – like all of us – are on a journey, and our role as a church is to assist them on this journey with grace and compassion.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Also here's some typical millenial girl who went to Hillsong NYC had to say about her experiences there

https://theoutline.com/post/6172/wh...s-beloved-evangelical-church?zd=1&zi=noi7ygl7

Ultimately, my problem with Hillsong wasn’t its size, its cultish atmosphere, or its reliance on celebrity relationships. It was the aspirational wealth and classism that ran rampant in the church’s community — to me, it was Evangelical elitism. Under a veneer of coolness and progressivism, the church is a retrograde institution, pushing traditional values on its wide-eyed, and often deep-pocketed, members.

Her talking about their teachings on sexuality

I was also taken aback by how Hillsong pushed marriage onto its young members. In my youth group, most of the twenty-somethings were virgins and in a rush to get married. I was surprised when some of the members thought my sexual choices were heretical and asked if I wanted to be baptized again, just because I was happily sexually active and open about it. (I declined the invitation to be baptized, even though baptisms are a huge spectacle at Hillsong. Every other week pastors will “baptize” dozens of people at the Gansevoort Hotel’s rooftop pool. It’s kind of like Hillsong-initiation. Many Hillsong-ers will attend, singing worship songs to support the newly baptized.)

Marriage preparation and various marriage-related workshops are two of the most-frequently conducted events at the church. It’s typical for a Hillsong-er to abstain from sex until marriage. The pastors often talk about their reckless days of premarital sex before they found Jesus saying that engaging in such coitus is a temptation from the devil.
 

The Guest

Pigeon
Athanasius said:
I really would like to see my conservative protestant/evangelical brethren ditch this garbage-- the light shows, the skinny jeans pastor, the shallow Nashville praise choruses, vapid 20-minute homilies, etc., and return to historic liturgies (Calvin's were based heavily on early church practice), strong preaching, the great creeds and confessions of faith, psalters, and hymnals that distill 20 centuries of great music instead of the last 10-20 years of bad music. In short, a confessional faith. There are churches like this, but alas, it's the minority today.

I go to one of these churches. Unfortunately you can guess how many people under 30 are there.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
Wutang said:
Also here's some typical millenial girl who went to Hillsong NYC had to say about her experiences there
https://theoutline.com/post/6172/wh...s-beloved-evangelical-church?zd=1&zi=noi7ygl7

Fair point. She mentioned a bit of the prosperity gospel stuff such as the flaunting of front-court seats and other signs of wealth, and Hillsong is at least somewhat in that word-faith orbit. I think on moral teachings like homosexuality, Hillsong tries to go as close the cliff as possible without falling over the edge. This is typical (skip to 2:55 if it doesn't place you there) of the kind of answer Lentz will give on a controversial topic-- abortion in this case-- instead of just speaking the simple, hard truth. For a generation I've heard guys like Rick Warren (who is not word-faith) and Osteen (who is) give these same types of hesitant answers.

Of course, expressing reservations, much less prohibiting wicked behavior, is too much for people like this woman. It's amazing how people are just stunned when anyone questions their autonomy.

It's good to see Hillsong at least guiding some away from self-destructiveness. In even "cool" churches like this, you will find a lot of believers.

p.s. Apologies for linking you to the View.
p.s.2 I have mixed feelings about polemics sites like Reformation Charlotte and Pulpit & Pen. On hand they are canaries in the coal mine, pointing out problems. Sometimes they've said things that give me pause in situations where I know something about the background. People whose whole schtick is pointing out problems can sometimes be unbalanced and unfair.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
The Guest said:
Athanasius said:
I really would like to see my conservative protestant/evangelical brethren ditch this garbage-- the light shows, the skinny jeans pastor, the shallow Nashville praise choruses, vapid 20-minute homilies, etc., and return to historic liturgies (Calvin's were based heavily on early church practice), strong preaching, the great creeds and confessions of faith, psalters, and hymnals that distill 20 centuries of great music instead of the last 10-20 years of bad music. In short, a confessional faith. There are churches like this, but alas, it's the minority today.

I go to one of these churches. Unfortunately you can guess how many people under 30 are there.

I do too, but ours has a lot of millenials/under 30 folks and a lot of kids. It's really evenly balanced across the generations.
 

FullThrottleTX

Woodpecker
Wutang said:
Also here's some typical millenial girl who went to Hillsong NYC had to say about her experiences there

https://theoutline.com/post/6172/wh...s-beloved-evangelical-church?zd=1&zi=noi7ygl7

Ultimately, my problem with Hillsong wasn’t its size, its cultish atmosphere, or its reliance on celebrity relationships. It was the aspirational wealth and classism that ran rampant in the church’s community — to me, it was Evangelical elitism. Under a veneer of coolness and progressivism, the church is a retrograde institution, pushing traditional values on its wide-eyed, and often deep-pocketed, members.

Her talking about their teachings on sexuality

I was also taken aback by how Hillsong pushed marriage onto its young members. In my youth group, most of the twenty-somethings were virgins and in a rush to get married. I was surprised when some of the members thought my sexual choices were heretical and asked if I wanted to be baptized again, just because I was happily sexually active and open about it. (I declined the invitation to be baptized, even though baptisms are a huge spectacle at Hillsong. Every other week pastors will “baptize” dozens of people at the Gansevoort Hotel’s rooftop pool. It’s kind of like Hillsong-initiation. Many Hillsong-ers will attend, singing worship songs to support the newly baptized.)

Marriage preparation and various marriage-related workshops are two of the most-frequently conducted events at the church. It’s typical for a Hillsong-er to abstain from sex until marriage. The pastors often talk about their reckless days of premarital sex before they found Jesus saying that engaging in such coitus is a temptation from the devil.

Yeah,
I think a Northeast church with such a high profile is under constant community pressure/criticism and it's a PR campaign just to keep it open. You have lots of nonbelievers, like agnostic chick, attending just to blog about it in a negative way to get attention. It does convince me that you're much better off at a smaller more traditional church tied to an ethnic group (Greek Orthodox et al). Better yet, a church not in a big Northeast or West Coast city.

You can go to a megachurch just like that in Dallas, it doesn't really make anyone wink if they talk bad about the gays. Yeah, the service is watered down. But it's not going to provoke people like this either way. Honestly, people are just way less political away from the coasts - on either the conservative or liberal side of things. I've been away for a while, I guess I completely forget about that.

I mentioned SLC in another thread, Dallas too.
The populations in both are basically younger so you'll see younger people in all religious venues, it doesn't really matter.

I personally am put off by the millennial pandering, with the ridiculous Christian rock music...
Church should be more low key and bare bones than that.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I will say another thing is that the only places where I see people getting married in their 20s is at these type of churches. In the secular world, most of the people just settle for co-habiting and maybe marrying in their 30s or they just ride the carousel or do serial dating. If we're talking about having children that AREN'T unplanned that the difference is even starker. Most of the Millenials I know who do have kids didn't have them planned and aren't married to their partners and in a lot of cases aren't even into sort of relationship anymore.
 

The Guest

Pigeon
Athanasius said:
Kid Twist said:

I go to an old school, confessional, conservative church. Thought that was what the other poster was saying he went to as well, but may have misread what he was saying.

That's what I meant, yes. It's solid, but we're in a coastal globohomo city and a lot of the families have moved here from other parts of the country for work. I don't like megachurch services and I'm too old for young adult groups anyway.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
There are a lot of younger conservative Christians who have been drawn toward more liturgical churches over the past decade or so. My church is somewhere between a liturgical style and smaller non-denominational, and it has many young families in it.

Hillsong-esque megachurches are so obsessed with what everybody else thinks about them, and trying to lure in people by looking "cool," that it tends to cripple them even if they don't compromise on issues like sexuality. I went to a Hillsong-planted (or at least that's what they claimed) church when I was a student in Japan about a decade ago, and the lingering feeling I have about that place is just how manipulative and inauthentic it all was.

All the people in positions of power felt like salesmen trying to get me to buy into their particular product (even though I was already a Christian before I went there) and brand. Similar to basic millennial chick's article, there's a lot of pressure to go to every single event and small group thing with various shaming tactics used. And the music is shallow, emotionally manipulative tripe without real depth. Back around ten years ago it was influenced by Bloc Party and other indie rock bands and actually wasn't universally awful, but now it's a facsimile of insufferable EDM and pop music performed by jewelry-encrusted jumping guys in Yeezy Boosts, skinny sweatpants, and T-shirts that go down to the knees. When I go to church, I don't want to be reminded of the worst aspects of mainstream culture.

A few years back I played in the band at a church where the worship leader went to Hillsong and always talked about how we have to be constantly changing to appeal to young people, always ditching old songs for new ones, and making a flashy audio-visual experience. By the end of it I pretty much wanted to throttle him, and had come to completely reject that mentality in favor of something more traditionally-minded.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
HermeticAlly said:
There are a lot of younger conservative Christians who have been drawn toward more liturgical churches over the past decade or so. My church is somewhere between a liturgical style and smaller non-denominational, and it has many young families in it.

Hillsong-esque megachurches are so obsessed with what everybody else thinks about them, and trying to lure in people by looking "cool," that it tends to cripple them even if they don't compromise on issues like sexuality. I went to a Hillsong-planted (or at least that's what they claimed) church when I was a student in Japan about a decade ago, and the lingering feeling I have about that place is just how manipulative and inauthentic it all was.

All the people in positions of power felt like salesmen trying to get me to buy into their particular product (even though I was already a Christian before I went there) and brand. Similar to basic millennial chick's article, there's a lot of pressure to go to every single event and small group thing with various shaming tactics used. And the music is shallow, emotionally manipulative tripe without real depth. Back around ten years ago it was influenced by Bloc Party and other indie rock bands and actually wasn't universally awful, but now it's a facsimile of insufferable EDM and pop music performed by jewelry-encrusted jumping guys in Yeezy Boosts, skinny sweatpants, and T-shirts that go down to the knees. When I go to church, I don't want to be reminded of the worst aspects of mainstream culture.

A few years back I played in the band at a church where the worship leader went to Hillsong and always talked about how we have to be constantly changing to appeal to young people, always ditching old songs for new ones, and making a flashy audio-visual experience. By the end of it I pretty much wanted to throttle him, and had come to completely reject that mentality in favor of something more traditionally-minded.

I went to a denominational, large contemporary church for about 10 years, and by the end I was ready to go jump off the nearest cliff if I heard one more praise chorus. The weekly attempt to create excitement had the opposite effect on me, similarly to how making happiness your goal produces misery. One or twice a year they'd bring in an orchestra, which would drastically improve the music, if you didn't mind seeing things like a woman up front reading a novel during the sermon.

We left that church for a number of reasons in addition to the music. They were lax, having little kids up reading Bible lessons. The order of worship was nonsensical- instead of the "God speaks, we respond" of historic liturgies, it'd be 20-30 minutes of praise choruses, then some announcements or discussion about a certain ministry, then a sermon. Instead of letting ministries develop organically, the focus was on church programs. Someone would come up with an idea and then they'd spend time trying to goad people into getting involved. Large churches focused on growth-growth-growth instead of worshiping God and ministering to the flock almost always end up using man-centered methods for reaching people: "cool music," watering things down, avoiding tough subjects, pushing progressive politics, etc. This is foreign to what is seen in the Scriptures. While Paul counsels gentleness, patience, humility, and speaking to people where they are (Acts 17 being a great example), he still spoke the truth and he paid an earthly price for it with beatings and imprisonment.

The vibe given off by many contemporary worship services is simply a lack of seriousness that you don't get from churches which have historic liturgies and hymnals.
 
Athanasius said:
The vibe given off by many contemporary worship services is simply a lack of seriousness that you don't get from churches which have historic liturgies and hymnals.

Agreed. I believe a good term is the lack of "Gravitas" or "Glory" what the Hebrews call "Kabod".

Good worship feels that it has gravity like good aged wine. Rather than syrupy,sappy cringey worship services as you describe.

Its like a comparison between a hyper-sweetened super-diluted wine vs decades old aged wine.

A good example is this:

And I will not bother to post the contemporary worship song.
 

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
The problem with a lot of big churches is that they don't want to be seen as serious. They think levity, emotional incontinence, and sillyness are virtues - which make them superior to those stuff, old-fashioned churches.
 
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