The Prayer of Jabez
Purpose Driven Life
The Daniel Plan
…just to name a few. Some of these are harmless, and others are helpful, but others can be destructive and misleading.
Let’s define a church fad as a set of thoughts or beliefs that snowballs in popularity across churches, denominations, and often even non-Christian arenas. In other words, it’s a book/idea/thought/buzzword that goes viral and appeals to a wide range of people as (seemingly) life-changing. A fad can seem revolutionary, when in reality it is often just a recycled and reorganized grouping of thoughts that already existed.
So should we ignore these fads? Should we embrace them one at a time as they come along?
An old mentor of mine gave me the language of “non-essentials”. The cross of Christ, the message of salvation, the supremacy of God, those things are essential to who we are and what we believe. But many other things are non-essential (to salvation) and many people will have differing views and opinions. These non-essentials come in all shapes, sizes, and complexities (i.e., is it wrong to _____? ~or~ what will heaven be like? ~or~ what does it mean to be in the favor of God?) These and other issues can be debated, but even scripture itself can seem to support different perspectives and arguments.
We need to stay informed, searching the scriptures for truth that resonates with our unique experiences and convictions. We need to remain humble, and find “trusted voices” that can help us understand scripture that exceeds our own understanding and . And we also need to respect others who have different opinions than our own.
This may seem an extreme way of dealing with something like a fad, but when something comes along like the prosperity gospel, we need to have this process available for mapping things out against the Word.
In my last post, I suggested why we need generations in the church. We need the younger generations to bring the latest thoughts of Christianity to keep our faith fresh and vibrant. But we also need the older generations to keep us in-line, inform our conscience, and develop our discernment.
The Christian life, in light of the gospel, should be the most real and relevant way to live. Unfortunately, if we reject new thoughts and ideas without testing them against the word, it quickly becomes a dated subculture that seems out of touch. Thankfully, Christ loves His church and has preserved it through the best and worst of times.