I sank lower in my seat to hide my disgusted expression. Was I really hearing this man who was in a position of leadership correctly? His message to the church was simple: Get with the times. Quit emphasizing repentance and focus on love, truth, grace, justice, and mercy.
It sounded like a different gospel to me.
This is not a new problem. In fact, Paul had to address it in his day. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
The words that stand out to me are in verse four. “You put up with it easily enough.” Though many Christians remain faithful to the teaching in God’s Word, many in the modern church are willing to accept this different gospel.
There’s not an easy answer to this question, and there are several possibilities. Perhaps people find the idea they are sinful creatures in need of redemption offensive, and the church does not want to offend. Or maybe people recognize following Christ requires a sacrifice they don’t want to make. Both reasons are probably true. Then I thought of something else.
Does the modern church have a case of Stockholm syndrome?
Stockholm syndrome is a phenomenon that can occur when someone held captive begins to sympathize or identify with his or her captors in order to survive. So, let’s say Satan is the captor holding the modern church captive. Is it sympathizing and identifying with Satan in order to remain relevant?
I fear the answer is yes. Many churches have adopted the world’s philosophies in order to survive. They have come to empathize with, and in many cases, embrace sin. And, deemphasizing the need for repentance and focusing only on love, truth, grace, justice, and mercy makes the Bible easier to accept. While these attributes are important and should be evident in the life of every Christian, they have to be understood in light of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In other words, the truth is, all of us are sinners, but God loves us. Because of his grace, mercy, and justice, he became a man, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross so we could repent and receive forgiveness for our sins.
Finally, the idea of a captive church reminds me of Colossians 2:8. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” It is no wonder we have been warned. When we are captured, in order to survive and thrive in this world, we eventually come to sympathize and identify with the very philosophy that will destroy us and make us an enemy of God.
To be continued…