What kind of authenticity do you want? Do you want to go on an safari, well come to Disney World, for it is a small world after all. Companies have been selling experience for a while now in America. What kind of consumer are you? Don’t worry the companies will find out and they will sell you on it. The same sadly enough has happened in the church. What are you looking to get in church? A cowboy, well come to our Cowboy worship, a hipster, welcome to the coffee shop church, conservative, hey we didn’t vote for Obama, oh your liberal, come over we have hope. The list goes on and on.
A church trying to sell authenticity is a problem. This church has left its original mandate (Matt 28) to become a supplier of goods, and Christians, well their merely treated as consumers.
So, is the safari in Florida really a safari? What about the cowboy church downtown, is it more a cowboy church than the one found in the middle of a ranch in Montana? I say faux. The church that sells its product is a faux community and it has become a mega-shame.
Calvin called the mind a “factory of idols.” Our depravity causes men to be innate idolaters. Can man conform the church into his own image? Well, the answer is no, of course not, but what keeps worship from the frailties of our factory idol minds? If we are allowed to be innovative in worship, doing what we think best, what check is there to guard against idols? How should the church protect its people from unlawful binding of conscience (a practice in worship that will make someone uncomfortable)?
The RPW is the answer. The RPW causes the church to look to Scripture and ask it, “What must we do?” It does not allow us to ask, “May I do X.” That answer will only rest on man’s opinion and preference not Scripture. What if I have different opinions and preferences? I guess I should go to the church across the street that does what I like. This is exactly what ends up happening. The body of Christ has been fragmented by the preference and opinion of man. Today’s churches with their innovation ends in a consumer driven church. What kind of consumer are you? I like bluegrass, or I like blues (both are true of me), well then grab a pick and jump right in. I would love to six days a week, but not on the Sabbath, “For the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it.”
True authenticity comes from a church regulated by God’s Word alone. You want authenticity, how about a worship service with only the preaching of the gospel from God’s Word alone, singing God’s Word from the Psalter (Psalms anyone?), sacraments of the Supper and Baptism, prayer of and for the saints, and the giving of alms for the poor.
Authenticity for the Protestant tradition and not being innovative has allowed my church to be protected from man’s opinion since 1561. The RPW tests our worship. It has removed idolatries for worship and has sanctified worship by the Word for over 500 years. Worship, in the Protestant 16th and 17th c.e., was not about being palatable to the consumer, rather it was about squaring worship with God’s Word. Want authenticity, want a biblical experience; let’s start a new old tradition in Missoula, what say you?