Will Your Heart Be Closed For Christmas?
By Paul Proctor
A week or so after I wrote my article, “Will Your Church Be Closed For Christmas?” published on November 27th, 2005, Willow Creek Community Church, along with several other megachurches around the country, proudly announced that they were indeed closing their doors on the fourth Sunday in December this year because it fell on Christmas; and adamantly defended their pragmatic decision to do so in spite of the growing outrage, citing among other things, a need for more time off and family. When the AP Wire picked it up on December 6th, the story exploded.
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:59-62
For the first time the world’s new dialectic church was being challenged and chastised by the very culture it so fondly pursued and seduced with its heralded tools of convenience, compromise and consensus; tools that were now being turned into weapons against it, bringing into clarity what some of us have known for years: that the bright and sparkly church growth movement and all its charming change agents, not only represent the very heart of Laodicean hypocrisy, but also present the greatest threat to Christianity today – the threat from within.
I have stated in at least one previous article that the church growth movement is simply humanism and socialism wrapped in Christmas paper. Well, it seems the leading CGM facilitators, in all their confident capitulation, didn’t see the need to even wrap it this year, thereby recklessly revealing the dirty little secret of seekerism to those who, until now, thought it was God’s glorious gift to the postmodern church.
Having been so busy ferociously fighting overt liberals from without for so long to keep Christ in Christmas and the Ten Commandments posted, etc, etc, etc, many were absolutely astonished to learn that there were covert liberals from within the church, in drag, if you will, feigning a facade of faith while worshipping and serving their own flesh in the name of Christ.
As a sidebar, I’d like to confess that I was more than a little frustrated to see all the Johnny-come-lately commentators from various major news organizations suddenly jumping aboard the Indignation Express to condemn a movement they had, until now, largely ignored or tolerated by their silence and submission; using, in their editorials, of all things, my words to describe and denounce it; and even remaking my very points from that November 27th piece in their own articles as if those points were coincidentally theirs as well, rather than simply quoting me, posting my column or linking it to their websites.
Were they onboard now because they were genuinely incensed or because all the rage had become seasonably fashionable? Only time will tell. You’ll know them by the return of their conspicuous silence.
My first inclination was to email them a rather terse and cutting reprimand for using me as a handy stepladder to board the tattered war wagon just in time for the Grand Parade into town through the cheering mainstream and attentive media; but then I was convicted when I heard my conscience ask: Will you now demand credit for what God has revealed?
And so, taking solace in the fact that some of these newly zealous brothers and sisters had now awakened to the harsh reality of a well-disguised apostasy, I was in the end, gratified, satisfied and at peace with it all, knowing that by God’s grace and power, we were ALL the wiser; and they had now joined me, at least for a time, for whatever reason, to take a stand against it. So, to them I say: Good morning ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the REAL war – the one INSIDE the church house.
“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” – Matthew 10:36
If you have awakened out of this movement yourself and dared to voice opposition to it among its many supporters in and around your church, workplace and/or family gatherings, you now know what Jesus meant when He said:
“The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” – Luke 12:53
And if you face a lonesome Christmas this year because of it, just remember this:
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12
And remember also that it’s not just the megachurches that are closed for Christmas this year; it is the hearts of all those who have hypocritically claimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; and only by hearing His Voice and answering His knock, will they again be opened.
Unfortunately, at many of our churches this year, no one will be around to open the door and receive Him or anyone else.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20