For The Record
By Dr. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D.

We all know that many of the churches of this country are making some bad decisions and taking all the wrong turns. The vast majority of churches I preach in are straight, right down the line. But, many good pastors see the crowds of the "Purpose driven drivel" and envy the large crowds. Also, many good Christians are tired of years of abstaining from things of the world and secretly desire to relax their standards and "be corrupted" by the "Contemporary Movement." I am not a "basher" but every now and then you need to have an "attitude check." That's what this essay is about. It is just a rehearsal of what you already know is right but you just need to hear it again. And, for the record, it is where I stand.

Pastor: If you have made changes to your services according to Rick Warren, Saddleback, Willow Creek or any other contemporary guru, you are wrong. Nope, I'm not going to argue with you or even give you a reason why you're wrong. You are wrong and you know it.

If your church has gone from hymns to choruses, you are wrong. You need to get rid of the shallow camp songs and get back to a Methodist, "And Can It Be," or a Lutheran, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

If you dumped your hymn book for a screen, you are wrong. The church has always been a place of "two books," the Bible and the hymn book. I had a pastor say, "But my people have their noses buried in a hymnal." (I will guarantee you that someone supplied that argument for him. He didn't think of it himself.) Answer? We've built great churches over the centuries with "their noses buried in a hymnal," so that can't be a legitimate problem.

If you have a "Praise Band," "Worship Team" or other modernist concoction you are wrong. You've just taken the worldly music that you like personally and found an excuse to justify it. Don't corrupt your church just because you miss rock & roll.

If you use a computer instead of a Bible you are wrong. God inspired a Book not a disc. Imagine the abomination when our churches have neither a hymnal nor a Bible.

If you claim that God can't/won't use anything not channeled through a local church, you are wrong. God uses local churches to advance His cause. But some of the greatest God-blessed movements in history were outside of a local church. God used Erasmus to collate the Greek New Testament, Martin Luther to kindle the Reformation, John Wesley to save England from revolution, George Whitfield to spark the Great Awakening. God's organization is the local church but He can use any individual He wishes to.

If your sermons have become lessons in how to have a better life, how to cope, how to get along with people, you are wrong. Yes, these subjects should be touched on in the course of a pastor's ministry. Also, not every sermon has to be a blistering attack on "sin" or about the "simple plan of salvation." But if all you do is tell people how to get along better through life, your sermons are horizontal rather than vertical. They are man-oriented rather than God-oriented. That's what the "Purpose Driven" movement is all about - man. It is actually the " People Driven Church " rather than the God driven church. You have failed your people in not urging them to a closer, more sanctified walk with the Lord. "Purpose Driven" churches worship MAN not God.

If you are not reading your Bible you are wrong. You shouldn't read your Bible just to get new sermons or find something no one else has found. Reading it will suppress your wicked tendencies. You, and I, need that. Only through Bible reading can you get to know God.

Christian: If you are tired of living a separated life, you are wrong. No one's flesh wants to be separated from the pleasures of the world. Our flesh enjoys the things the world has to offer. Claiming you're tired of "legalism" is just a cop-out to live like the world.

If you are more loyal to your home school group than your church, you are wrong. I believe in Christian education whether it is in a formal Christian school or via home schooling. But God uses local churches, not home school support groups, to further His cause. Yes, they can be a help with educating your kids but God is going to speak to your heart through the preaching in a local church. You are turning to your school group to duck your responsibility to your church.

If you "dress down" for church you are wrong. We've all dressed "up" for someone. Men dressed "up" for their girlfriends when they were dating. Women did the same for the boyfriends. If we can dress "up" for a human we should dress "up" for God. Nobody is as important as He is. If you find yourself concerned about how you dress for some human but not for God your heart is not right.

If you won't put your baby in a church nursery or your children in a Sunday School class, you are wrong. The local church is not the enemy of your family! It is your family's friend! Forcing people to endure your crying baby doesn't make you spiritual. It distracts attention from the preaching of the Word of God. You will be held accountable for every person who doesn't make a decision for the Lord because of your squalling baby.

If you think having babies makes you spiritual or obedient to the Bible, you are wrong. Having babies is the result of carnal actions, not spiritual. The Great Commission is not found in Genesis 9:7. Nor is it the woman's purpose for existing. A woman's purpose for existing is to help her husband! (Gen.2:20) She isn't to be his slave, she is his help. The "Gospel of Having Babies" makes the woman the central figure of the family rather than the man, as God intended. Say what you want, you'll still be wrong.

If you've ever bad-mouthed a preacher (like just now!) or hurt a church, you are wrong. We say, "Christianity is the only army that shoots its own wounded." This isn't true. Christianity is the only army that makes its own wounded. Some pastor made you mad and you ripped his throat out every chance you had. That is wicked and you will answer for it.

If you want your church of go contemporary, you are wrong. You just want to be worldly and want your pastor to approve it.

If you take this essay and stick your finger in your pastor's face to show him how "wrong" he is, you are wrong. You simply desire to be "more spiritual" than a preacher and want to use me as a club to bash your pastor with. This wasn't written so you could bash a preacher.

If you don't eat meat and claim it's because of the Bible, you are wrong. Not eating meat doesn't make you spiritual. It is a latter day New Age doctrine.

If you're not tithing you are wrong. You are a thief. No, you are not stealing from your church. You are stealing from God. You don't "give" your tithe. One tenth of what you make already belongs to God. Tithing is simply getting God's money out of your wallet. A good idea!

If you listen to tapes, CDs or webpage messages (including mine) instead of going to church, you are wrong.

If you're not reading your Bible, you are wrong. You are as wicked as I am. (Jer. 17:9) If you don't read your, Bible all you will ever know about God is what someone else tells you.

Save your breath and my time: Don't bother writing or calling to set me straight on anything I've said. You will still be wrong. (Pastor, I will understand if you wish to cancel a meeting. That's your prerogative.) Please understand, all I've said was that you are "wrong." I didn't say you are "wicked" or "ungodly" or a "servant of the devil." If you don't agree with me then say that I'm wrong! But none of the others either.

In the last days we have been wandering from the straight & true. Maybe something I've said will stop somebody before they go too far in the wrong direction.