For the past several years there has been a disturbing trend in Evangelical Christianity that seems to be getting worse. To be honest, if we were to examine Christianity’s past, we would find that this is an old problem that just looks different through the ages. It is a Christianity that doesn’t include Christ; a Christless Christianity. It is a Christianity that caters to us, and worships people rather than God.
The following video is an example of this. This article is only a critique of the video, not the church or their beliefs. Up until this point, I have not listened to or watched their worship or church service. It may be very Spirit filled and Jesus may be mentioned and glorified quite a bit. But this just serves as a reminder that we can do better. All of us.
In this video: Jesus, God, Christ, sin, salvation, resurrection, or any Bible verse are never mentioned even once. The gospel — the reason for the season of Easter is never offered. What is offered though?
- “Come check out Limitless Church.”
- “You can come as you are.”
- “Join other imperfect people.”
- “You are welcome at Limitless.”
- “Our team is ready and prepared to make you feel right at home.”
- “An encouraging message.”
- “Powerful worship.”
- “Easterland (a carnival-type atmosphere for kids) upstairs for your kids packed with fun games, egg hunts, full size candy bars, bags of candy, and live bunnies that you and your kids can hold and pet.”
- “And parents, you get to take your kids to Easterland!”
Throughout this video, “You” is mentioned eight times; which makes me wonder who that “powerful worship” is for.
What are we Called To
What is the purpose of the church? What are we to do as believers in Christ?
- God chose us that we would be holy, sanctified, and set apart from the world (Ephesians 1:4, 5:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 2 Timothy 2:21; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
- Throughout the gospels Jesus called people to follow Him.
- To put off sin (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8-9)
- To put on the new man and Christ (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10-14).
- To equip the saints for the work of the ministry and edify the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-36).
- To glorify God and bear good fruit for Him (John 15)
- Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person (Mark 16:15).
- Utilize spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12).
- Walk in love, walk in light, and walk in wisdom, being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:1-21).
- Make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19).
And these are just the things that I can think of off the top of my head.
Appealing to Unbelievers
Why do churches like this appeal to unbeliever’s flesh so hard, giving them what they want? You might as well coordinate bus trips to the casino and give everyone $20 in quarters to start. [Maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas.] In the above list, none of these things will be in heaven except for powerful worship. Imperfect people won’t be there either — but forgiven people will.
This modern message, that God has a wonderful plan for your life, is a myth designed to fill pews and gain money to keep the “Big Show” going. Remember my last article? People desired money more than anything else, including God. But you can see on The Johnson’s faces, they are scrambling to get anyone there. Obviously, it takes a lot of money to put something like this on; and to rent space at Toast in Ankeny is not cheap.
I would like to ask Arjay and Kayla Johnson one question, “Aren’t you tired?” It must be exhausting to keep up with what the world has to offer. But when God is nowhere to be found in a
seemingly Christ-less church, what do you expect? The Holy Spirit is absent; He must be. Church is meant for the believer to learn about God, worship Him, get equipped to share the gospel, and to grow in Christ; to be sanctified, set apart, and Holy. How is “Easterland” going to accomplish that? It won’t, but will only create disillusioned selfish goats who will refuse to bend the knee to God. They are not interested in loving others, putting off the old man, and putting on the new. Those who respond to this type of begging believe they are good people already and in no need for a savior. They only love and worship the god in their minds — themselves. They are in no way interested in loving others.
If you have to work this hard to get them; you have to work even harder to keep them.
How should this church reach out to unbelievers? A church I am familiar with that goes out to the Des Moines St. Patrick’s Day Parade, shares the gospel, and passes out gospel tracts with a short invitation to attend Easter Service at the end.
In reality, sharing the gospel on a day-to-day basis around town, and not just around Easter. This should be continuous. But it’s my feeling that because Limitless congregants are probably not sharing the gospel and inviting people they know, that these Pastors are forced to do it themselves through a desperate video. Maybe, before it’s too late, they will realize that feeding goats what they want is not working.
This might seem too simplistic to just share the gospel and people will come, but that is how some of the largest churches in history have done. Read these descriptions of some of these pastors and churches that have done just that:
- Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder of Evangelism Explosion (EE), a failing pastor that turned his church, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, around from 17 to over 2,000 people in a twelve-year period. All coming from sharing the gospel door-to-door every Thursday. By the 1980’s it grew to over 10,000 strong until his death.
- A church in my area, Saylorville Baptist Church, increased attendance to 1500 people over three services on a normal Sunday by sharing the gospel with community outreach. Looking through their website, they are equipped with an Evangelism Pastor as well as Discipleship Pastor. Their whole website is all about Jesus and wanting people to know Him, and be reunited to God by Christ.
- Walnut Creek Downtown Church in the heart of Des Moines, IA began and continues to be a gospel sharing oriented church, with many young college student members from Drake University. I remember walking into a room full of about a hundred young people armed with tracts ready to share Jesus on the street during the 4th of July festivities and city-wide witnessing events a few times a year.
Ask the Expert How to Grow a Church
Many churches unfortunately take the advice of websites and consultant groups like GrowChurch, appealing to the “experts,” which is the unchurched. The unchurched get to run the services: the time services should be, where they are held, events that are held, and maybe as far as what is and isn’t taught.
Just think, we get to worship the God who created us, who sacrificed His one and only Son to bear our guilt and shame and be given what was due to us — death, so that we don’t have to. In the following paragraphs we will see that Jesus isn’t just enough — He is everything and more!
Just in the book of Colossians, it describes who Jesus is, and who we are in Him. The Apostle Paul found out that they were getting their minds off Christ and onto philosophy, Jewish Ceremonialism, Angel worship, and legalism. He reminded them of who Jesus is, and to get their minds on Him, put off the old sin nature and put on the new man created in Christ Jesus. Here, Paul describes who Jesus is:
- The image of God (1:15).
- The firstborn of all creation (1:15).
- Authority over all things (1:15).
- Before all things (1:17).
- The head of the body, the church (1:18; 2:19).
- The beginning, the firstborn from the dead (1:18).
- The head over all rule and authority (2:10).
- Seated at the right hand of the Father (3:1).
- Our life (3:4).
- Our all and in all (3:11).
Jesus is our all. He is our everything. Without Him we are lost forever. He is head over all things.
In Christ, By Christ, Through Christ…
Because of Jesus, we experience His blessings and mercies every day. He is our sacred most holy gift from the Father. In Christ, by Christ, and through Christ:
- We have our faith (1:4).
- We have redemption and forgiveness of sin (1:14).
- All things were created in heaven and on earth; invisible and invisible (1:16).
- All things are held together (1:17).
- All the fullness dwells in Him (1:19).
- Reconciles all things to Himself (1:20).
- Though His cross He made peace with God (1:20).
- Are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3).
- We are to walk [in Christ] (2:6).
- We have been firmly rooted and established (2:7).
- All the fullness of Deity dwells in His body (2:9).
- We have been made complete in Him (2:10).
- We have been circumcised with Christ (2:11).
- We have been buried with Christ (2:12; 3:1).
- We were raised with Christ through faith (2:12).
- We are made alive (2:13).
- God [through Christ] disarmed, triumphed over rulers and authorities (2:15).
- We died [with Christ] to the elementary principles of the world (2:20).
- We will be revealed with Christ (3:4).
- The gospel (the good news) is the mystery of Christ (4:1).
But, be my guest if you’d rather get a bag of candy and pet some bunnies at Easterland with Limit
less -ed Church. Me, I am going to experience and worship God and thank Jesus His Son for the sacrifice He gave me so that I can have these previous thirty reasons (and more). Just think we get to worship the creator, sustainer, and savior of the world — every single day!
Happy Resurrection Day!
Yes, these seeker/church-growth assemblies are all about entertainment.
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Easterland, 🤦♀️ “You might as well coordinate bus trips to the casino and give everyone $20 in quarters to start.” Funny, but not. It’s so sadly true! Our churches are in deep compromise on many fronts.