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Old 12-28-2013, 01:02 PM
 
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I was eating lunch the other day and overheard a pastor tell his friend that preaching about fire and brimstone is what his father's generation of pastor's did, it's a more positive message today.

I have attended a few different church's in recent years, mostly non-denominational megachurch's and they never discuss Hell or sinning. It is always a positive uplifting message with a lot of talk about grace and forgiveness.

Has their been a decline of Christian church's criticizing and judging sinners and preaching about Hell? If so why is this taking place? My guess is that it's because today's generation is the most sinful and morally bankrupt who has ever lived and they don't want to hear any judgement or criticism of themselves. If a church criticized sinners the seats would be empty. There is a much larger audience for "Jesus died for your sins" and leaving it at that saying nothing to discourage further sin.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:39 PM
 
19,943 posts, read 14,808,959 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
I was eating lunch the other day and overheard a pastor tell his friend that preaching about fire and brimstone is what his father's generation of pastor's did, it's a more positive message today.

I have attended a few different church's in recent years, mostly non-denominational megachurch's and they never discuss Hell or sinning. It is always a positive uplifting message with a lot of talk about grace and forgiveness.

Has their been a decline of Christian church's criticizing and judging sinners and preaching about Hell? If so why is this taking place? My guess is that it's because today's generation is the most sinful and morally bankrupt who has ever lived and they don't want to hear any judgement or criticism of themselves. If a church criticized sinners the seats would be empty. There is a much larger audience for "Jesus died for your sins" and leaving it at that saying nothing to discourage further sin.
I think in the realm of megachurches...yes---that is the case. It's why Joel Osteen is so popular. People like being told how much God loves them and they don't like being challenged to look at their own lives critically. It's why the new pope is so popular. The media, who normally hates the Catholic church....seem to love Francis.

In my church, I preach what is in the text. I am currently walking through Acts. I took a 3 week break for Christmas and covered Matthew 1...but I'm back in Acts 15 tomorrow. Yes--I'll be talking about sin and salvation--because the text discusses it.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:52 PM
Status: "Evolving." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
30,202 posts, read 15,885,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
I was eating lunch the other day and overheard a pastor tell his friend that preaching about fire and brimstone is what his father's generation of pastor's did, it's a more positive message today.

I have attended a few different church's in recent years, mostly non-denominational megachurch's and they never discuss Hell or sinning. It is always a positive uplifting message with a lot of talk about grace and forgiveness.

Has their been a decline of Christian church's criticizing and judging sinners and preaching about Hell? If so why is this taking place? My guess is that it's because today's generation is the most sinful and morally bankrupt who has ever lived and they don't want to hear any judgement or criticism of themselves. If a church criticized sinners the seats would be empty. There is a much larger audience for "Jesus died for your sins" and leaving it at that saying nothing to discourage further sin.
Oh, there's still Fundamentalist fire-breathers out there, spreading their fear and bigotry. But, as you noted, like all species which couldn't adapt (evolve) to altered realities, they're gradually becoming extinct.

Few will mourn their passing.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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I don't think churches should spend their time speaking about hell because after all, most if not all the people there are Christians. The duty of the churches should be encouraging christians to further develop their mind. What you think and believe will translate into how you live. Now I believe Hell exists, that is punishment for transgression against God and His creation. Yet even if someone believed Hell exist and came to God because they didn't want to go there, that reason alone is the poorest reason to become a Christian.


It's something to keep in mind, yes, but the ultimate reason someone should come to God is because they are hungry for the whole truth. Having answers to questions that you never thought would be answered. It's said the goodness of God leads a man to repentance. Yet anyway, if we are to say Jesus and the original disciples didn't shy away from speaking on Hell, they also gave reason why the people should believe them according to Scripture. They worked miracles and then preached to the people, as it's said that God confirmed their word through the miracles. No one should just talked about Hell with the main intent of scaring people into conversion. That's not the best reason for conversion. Your life should be better after salvation than before.


Now, what's really missing from the pulpit is the cost of Christianity. The suffering for the sake of others to hear and receive this message. Very few understand these things.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:56 PM
 
Location: southern california
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Good point. Lots of stuff like that in the church now, seems the only "safe" subject to teach is tolerance. But tolerance in the extreme is doormating isnt it? You know, cowardice & spinlessness.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,309 posts, read 9,943,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
Has their been a decline of Christian church's criticizing and judging sinners and preaching about Hell?
I've been out of the game too long to speak to this even from personal experience, but one thing that you can say about fundamentalism is that, by definition, within those sorts of churches, there will be no reticence about discussion hell or sin. That doesn't necessarily mean there will be a hellfire-and-brimstone emphasis or that all fundamentalist preachers are red-faced and sweaty in-a-thuh pulpit-ah. But their basic value proposition to potential converts is that they need saving, and to feel a keen need for that you sort of need real peril (eternal punishment in hell).

So to me the real question is whether fundamentalism is imploding or not, because any sort of "kinder, gentler Christianity" is going to come from more liberal precincts. That is at least something that can be quantified relatively well. And as it turns out, as recently as 1993, about 2/3 of Americans self-identified as Protestants, and sometime in 2012 that figure dropped below 50%, so unless 100% of that loss came from liberal Christianity, it suggests substantial pressure on fundamentalism.

In 2005 the president of Baptist Theological Seminary declared that liberalism is responsible for "the decline of Christianity". There's a fundamentalist who sees Christianity in decline and fundamentalism as the answer. Yet it's not hard to find references to younger folks being averse to the legalistic and strict attitudes of fundamentalism ... that fundamentalism actually IS the problem.

Fundamentalist Christians seem to be turning to less modernized societies for new converts, preaching for example against the "evils" of homosexuality in Uganda (Bloody-Handed Evangelicals).

There are conflicting reports of the growth or shrinkage of fundamentalism. Some see fundamentalism dying because of demographic trends away from migration to the suburbs from inner cities and rural areas, but that sounds simplistic to me to say that Fundamentalism has thrived because it's particularly amenable to suburbia somehow. Fundies could perhaps adapt to those changes; in any case, my own brother is part of an inner-city fundamentalist congregation and we certainly know of plenty of rural Bible-thumpers.

Prof. Harvey Cox of Harvard, in his new book The Future of Faith, is saying that Christianity in general is becoming more egalitarian, less dogmatic and more "spiritual" and seeking common threads with other faiths -- he sees this as the biggest development of the past 50 years or so, and the start of what he characterizes as the third great phase of Christianity.

Situation muddy, as usual, but I would say fundamentalism is, if not precisely down for the count, on the ropes. Whether this is a cyclic phenomenon or something more all-encompassing remains to be proven, but I tend to think it's the latter. The modern world is pretty bad news for literalists, and unless there is a huge dive in standards of living in the West, such that conservative Christians can blame it plausibly on god's judgment of sinful man, I see it as continued bad news for them.
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
1,677 posts, read 3,158,275 times
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Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
My guess is that it's because today's generation is the most sinful and morally bankrupt who has ever lived and they don't want to hear any judgement or criticism of themselves. If a church criticized sinners the seats would be empty.
Really? Worse than when slavery was the accepted norm? Worse than when women and children were property? Worse than when places were regularly sacked and pillaged? Worse than during feudalism, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust?

I see that humanity has moved forward, and we except fewer atrocities and injustices all the time. I can't imaging why anyone would think this is the most "sinful" or "morally bankrupt" time period. I know that many equate sin and moral bankruptcy with people having sex they don't approve of. But even with that - was there a place and time in the history of the world when more people were having sex only within the confines of one man/one woman, married for life? And does it matter if the woman consented, or just that the paperwork was complete?
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:07 PM
Status: "Evolving." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
30,202 posts, read 15,885,069 times
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Originally Posted by roscomac View Post
Really? Worse than when slavery was the accepted norm? Worse than when women and children were property? Worse than when places were regularly sacked and pillaged? Worse than during feudalism, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust?

I see that humanity has moved forward, and we except fewer atrocities and injustices all the time. I can't imaging why anyone would think this is the most "sinful" or "morally bankrupt" time period. I know that many equate sin and moral bankruptcy with people having sex they don't approve of. But even with that - was there a place and time in the history of the world when more people were having sex only within the confines of one man/one woman, married for life? And does it matter if the woman consented, or just that the paperwork was complete?
Sheesh!

Yet another attempt at muddying fundamentalist waters with facts!






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Old 12-28-2013, 05:29 PM
 
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I used to go to a Baptist church whose pastor is a conservative from Kentucky. Plenty of fire and brimstone preaching and plenty of yelling and fear and hate -- even for other Christians. The church is still there, still the same pastor, still going strong. I drove by the other day and the building has been expanded.

I didn't mind church up to that point. My experiences with the Church of England and the Methodist Church were actually nice. The Baptists made me hate church; I left and never went back.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Ohio
13,900 posts, read 11,622,642 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
I was eating lunch the other day and overheard a pastor tell his friend that preaching about fire and brimstone is what his father's generation of pastor's did, it's a more positive message today.

I have attended a few different church's in recent years, mostly non-denominational megachurch's and they never discuss Hell or sinning. It is always a positive uplifting message with a lot of talk about grace and forgiveness.

Has their been a decline of Christian church's criticizing and judging sinners and preaching about Hell? If so why is this taking place? My guess is that it's because today's generation is the most sinful and morally bankrupt who has ever lived and they don't want to hear any judgement or criticism of themselves. If a church criticized sinners the seats would be empty. There is a much larger audience for "Jesus died for your sins" and leaving it at that saying nothing to discourage further sin.
You've pretty much answered your own question as to why the real message of the Bible is no longer preached.

Something you need to keep in mind, is that churches are essentially a business like any other. Businesses want their product to be attractive to a wide range of people. People don't like to be scrutinized. If people feel uncomfortable by the message that is being preached, they are less likely to attend services and fill the donation plates with their hard earned dollars. If people stop coming to services or attend less frequently, that is bad for business.

The general rule I go by is that you can tell if a church is preaching the actuall message of the Bible by how full their parking lot is.
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