By Paul Proctor
May 1, 2004
I saw something in the mall the other day that nearly turned my stomach. An item for sale caught my attention as I passed by a clothing store, accompanied by my wife. For teens, it is, and always has been, at least for as long as I’ve been alive, chic to wear clothes that are, shall we say, shocking to adults. That’s what rebellion is all about. Kids obviously love it because it not only challenges societal standards and authority but gets them the attention and admiration of peers, as well. Shop owners love it simply because it makes the register ring. Nevertheless, there, in that little boutique, written across the front of a brightly colored T-shirt, in bold print, was the proud proclamation: “Jesus is my homeboy”
My initial thought was that some anti-Christian group or organization was merely mocking God for moolah. Then I realized it was really the handiwork of hipsters hocking God for hoopla and in the process, degrading the Divine to the level of street urchin in some opportunistic attempt to alter the public’s perception of the Prince of Peace into someone not so sacred, serious or sin conscious. But, my question is, “What’s the difference?” Aren’t they both trivializing God and therefore equally blasphemous?
I don’t know about you, but even under grace, the very thought of coming face to face with the Alpha and the Omega is more than a little unsettling. In fact, I’ve yet to find anyone in scripture who wasn’t dramatically affected in some way by the mere presence of God. Scripture tells us that even the Earth trembles before Him.
But, who’s afraid of Jesus the Homey? No one, I’m sure. Serving a synthetic savior is a snap; which is why the church growth movement exists today – to change your perception of God, His Son, His Word, His church and its mission – to make each of them more desirable and appealing to the flesh – resulting in, of course, expeditious church growth.
You see, the flesh hates holiness and so do those who have dedicated their lives to making the church more like the world. Frankly, holiness is hard on the numbers and has a way of annoying the ambitious and offending the obscene. But, this is the new evangelism, my friends. This is the purpose and passion of the church growth movement – to dispel all fear of God and make Jesus our “homeboy.”
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” – Proverbs 8:13
Instead of hating evil, as scripture commands, today’s Christian is being taught just the opposite – to hate holiness – not in so many words, but by zealously ridding the church and its members of anything that represents or encourages fear, respect, reverence and awe toward the Almighty – going so far as to promote a casual, even cavalier attitude and atmosphere in and around church.
Many of you have probably asked yourselves at one time or another: “Whatever happened to real worship?” Well, I would say to you that it went the way of fear, respect, reverence and awe. We essentially exchanged it for Jesus the Homey so we could appeal to the flesh, feel better about ourselves and artificially grow the church.
The fact is; where there is no fear of God, there is no worship. And where there is no worship, there is no love – at least not the self-sacrificing, cross-carrying, truth-telling kind of love that Jesus demonstrated. There’s only a reciprocating, “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine”, kind of love – the kind of love that offers amusement for applause, friendship for flattery and titillation for tithes.
So, if you’re tired of waiting on the Holy Spirit to grow your church the old fashioned way – just do what Satan did to Jesus in the wilderness and appeal to the flesh by offering the world. (Luke 4:5-8) He didn’t take it, of course. But, if your church does, I can almost guarantee that it will grow at an enormous rate. Just tell all the visitors and prospects that they can have eternal life AND enjoy everything this world has to offer by making Jesus their homeboy and you will have more professions of faith, baptisms, new members, volunteers and missionaries than ever before, because, without a doubt, the satanic secret of quick and easy church growth is hating holiness.
“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” – Psalm 50:21