“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces..." (Matthew 7:6)From Dietrich Bonhoeffer...
The world upon whom grace is thrust as a bargain will grow tired of it, and it will not only trample upon the Holy, but will also tear apart those who force it on them. For its own sake, for the sake of the sinner, and for the sake of the community, the Holy is to be protected from cheap surrender. The Gospel is protected by the preaching of repentance which calls sin sin and declares the sinner guilty.Ane yet this is the point that many churches today, in their quest to be 'relevant', miss completely.
The preaching of grace can only be protected by the preaching of repentance.
In my travels, I see many shrinking churches. There are a couple of main reasons, in my opinion. One, and perhaps the saddest, is the problem of aging congregations seeking to cling despately to their old ways, mainly in the area of music. The hair in these congregations is mostly gray, and the music is mostly dismal. I am talking style here, not content. Many of the old hymns are wonderful, theologically, and can be just as relevant and attractive today, even to young people, if played in a more current style with more contemporary instrumentation. It may be my own personal bias, but I think that any church today that wants not only to survive, but to flourish and grow, should be adding guitars and drums, and introducing contemporary worship songs to their music mix.
But the second main reason is the one addressed in the Bonhoeffer quote above. Anyone attracted to a church through such compromising tactics; the excusing of sin in the name of modernity, will probably not last. But if they do, they will probably pull such a church further away from the truth and further down the broad road that leads to destruction. It is happening before our very eyes.
But sadly, those who most need to hear such a message will probably be the least likely to heed it.