There's a new breed of Christianity popping up, and this new breed conveniently appeals to the younger generation within our churches--particularly to the youth.
Cool Christians have hit the stage with their smooth, innovative talk, trendy clothing and new-age culturally-acceptable beliefs.
This bombardment of modernistic teaching style in churches around the globe has been found to be extremely successful in attracting the masses.
Within the church several years ago, moderate attire was highly valued as a form of decency in displaying respectable behaviour towards others, while controlling the tongue and speaking politely and with appropriate language was deemed as godly. Members were discerning and mostly in agreement with one another; like-minded and steadfast in truth, which led to a church of love, peace and unity.
So what's happened to the church?
How have we gone so far down the slope of compromise?
There are remarkable differences in how a Christian used to present themselves compared to how they do today. Whether it's how they look, what they say and even what they believe, in the modern age we're living in, to be a Christian apparently has its own set of individual guidelines - depending on each person's own beliefs and man-made denominations. What I mean by this is that many who go by the title of ‘Christian’ no longer take heed to what the Scriptures clearly state, nor do they listen when being biblically corrected by a genuine believer. Instead, they disregard reproof and choose to walk according to the beat of their own drum; following their heart and convincing themselves in their mind that they're doing ok.
What's so bad about that, you may ask?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
We have been given direct instructions from God's Word that we are not to trust our own heart, but that in everything, we should pray and read the Bible for clarification. John 17:17
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Ephesians 6:17-18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit … In order to lead people astray, Satan uses everything flesh related, with pride being the greatest, as well as outer senses; sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. The first three work an absolute treat within the church environment. And in his crafty and cunning wickedness, he deceives people to believe that they are in fact being spiritual when they live carnally.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
What we see and hear are two of the most persuasive senses we often go by. If it looks good and sounds good, we most likely will buy it hook, line and sinker. And sadly this is a lure that many churches have latched on to.
Church is supposed to be about teaching and edifying the body of Christ that they might live holy lives - however all too many modern-day churches have decided to throw out what’s apparently old-fashioned and out of touch, and have brought in the latest fashionable new-age ideas in order to achieve relevance and modernism.
Church has become about entertaining the people and making them feel good. And to reach this goal, the scene needs to be set just right so people are at ease, feeling relaxed and comfortable with what they see and hear. Here is where the cool Christians enter with their young and happening teens playing musical instruments of soft grunge that's attributed to praising God in its lyrics, while smoke machines let out puffs of mysticism and coloured lights flash around the room so you feel like you're at a concert more than a church service.
Next comes the contemporary pastor with his cool clothing; slashed jeans and slick leather jacket with the latest hairstyle that everyone's into. He often shows off his tattoo as a sign of his down-to-earth nature. Then when he opens his mouth to preach, he distorts God’s Word, giving way to embrace evil, which God tells us to abhor (Romans 12:9), and also speaks words of worldly wisdom, flattery and endless possibilities of having materialistic riches through the name of Jesus.
The world love his words of fleshly desires and temporary happiness, therefore they come along in droves to be sweet-talked and praised for their self-righteousness.
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The leaders of these churches have twisted the truth to make it palatable and more acceptable according to current cultural opinions. This leads the way for a church with no repentance, no rebuke, no discipline, no morality, no modesty, no respect and worst of all, no fear of God.
1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
When a church no longer fears God, they become an entity all of their own, exalting man and making self-proclamations; choosing to guide themselves in their future with what they believe it should entail, which just happens to be things of this world; money, possessions, notoriety … sin.
Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Christianity has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with being cool, and to try to make it look cool in order to feel better about being seen as ‘religious’ or to entice others to like it and want to be part of it is completely unbiblical and not of God.
Cool Christianity seduces people into believing that they can have God on their own terms.
Jesus said that we will be hated by the world because of Him. A Christian will stand out as being opposite to the world—they will be shunned and ostracised.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
We are often our own worst enemy. ‘Cool Christians’ have paved the way for people to indulge themselves in fleshly lusts and feel justified due to the belief that God wants a materialistic life for them.
However the Bible says something completely different.
Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
To see such clear statements in the Bible begs the question how anyone could come up with any other conclusion than letting go of self and clinging to Christ—yet sadly, many ‘cool Christians’ are not sincere in their devotion to Jesus and have just used Him as a means to live a selfish lifestyle without feeling guilty about it.
Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
To be a Christian is to live for Jesus! And this is daily, not just every now and then or whenever someone’s watching.
To believe that it's a good thing to bring people into the church by making Christianity seem cool, is to lure the world into coming to a different Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4), one which they will happily accept, where they will believe they are heaven-bound, yet they tragically have believed a lie from the enemy and are still as lost as they were when they were outside the church (Matthew 7:22-23).
Only the true Jesus saves--and we know who He is by reading His Word--His Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth.
This great deception is so dangerous because it fools people into thinking they're saved when in fact they've only come for selfish gain. They have not heard the full gospel, they have not truly repented and nor have they given up their lives for Christ. They're under the delusion that they can have a successful life if they just acknowledge Jesus while living for themselves.
Bringing someone to Christianity on the terms of having a 'better life' of material abundance, is to dangle the very carrot they already love right before their eyes. And the reason it's so readily accepted is not because they realise their need for the Saviour, but because they want relief and a sense of righteousness--and this is what cool Christianity gives.
Christianity isn't about joining a club--it's about joining with Christ.
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Satan is the one who tempts us in the hope that we will give in to our selfish desires—but like Jesus, we need to resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7).
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus not only resisted the devil, but He stood strong in the truth of God’s Word and used Scripture as His weaponry (Ephesians 6:17).
Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Christians have been set apart from the world (Hebrews 10:10), therefore we should not be trying to conform to this world either by speech or looks (Romans 12:2). In fact, we’ve been set apart specifically because God expects us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We need to act accordingly, bringing into subjection every area of our lives so that we are glorifying Christ in it all (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Apostle Paul did not come with smooth words of flattery, on the contrary, he admits to not being an eloquent speaker, however he makes it known that what’s important is not how smooth a preacher talks, but whether the words they speak are Scriptural or not.
2 Corinthians 11:6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
Quite often it's the ones who have the ability to sweet talk that are actually speaking heresies.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
It’s not about being cool, fitting in or making the Bible seem more relevant to this modern era—it’s about realising that we are a peculiar people and that God’s Word is divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), which gives it the value of being above anything this world deems as right or cool (Proverbs 30:5).
It’s about reaching others for Christ, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)—preaching the good news of the gospel (Mark 16:15).
Only the truth can set people free…not being cool, not being relatable, not being interesting, and certainly not watering down God’s Word.
John 8:31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
This is the call for every believer.
Who are we really following?
It’s the world—or Jesus.
-- By Jenny Ayling