When you can’t tell the difference between the “church” and the world.

holiness

Can someone please tell my why it is so necessary for “churches” in America to mimic the world, its ways, and its culture . . . the very world that’s antithetical to Christ and His Church?

Case in point: For your consideration of the state of the “church” in America today, I’ve posted the following dozen videos produced by a “church” called Waters Edge. I included each video’s own introduction as found on YouTube along with my brief commentary.

Brace yourself.

1). In this video, Jamey shows us the “correct” way to invite people to our upcoming series on love and relationships entitled “Let’s Get It On.”

Is it me or do the words “sexual innuendo” and “double entendre”come to mind after watching this video? Could you imagine being a visitor to this church with your children present when they played this clip? At least they warn us on their website about the content of their “sermon” series: “Parental Discretion is advised… preschoolers and kids should participate in Kid Kraze and WeeWorld.” Can any Church historian please tell me if there’s ever been a time in Christian history when the church had to give a “parental discretion” warning to its congregants?

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2). This video aired on Sunday, November 2nd at Waters Edge. Enjoy!

Kidnapping, physical violence, and spitting in the face of Santa Clause. All in a day’s work for the staff at Waters Edge.

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3). This video aired on Sunday, November 16th at Waters Edge Church. It was our third Christmas Eve promo video on a Sunday and offered the best Christmas Toy idea. It also offered the opportunity to go ahead and order it, to help free people up to attend our Christmas Eve services, since they wouldn’t need to shop on Christmas Eve.

Narcissism and a total irreverence for Jesus Christ. What more do you need to promote your church?

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4). This was one of the videos featured in our first Big Dream Series. Lots of fun!!!

Hmmm. The church mocking the Church. How relevant.

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5). Here it is!! The VIP Rap Video From Christmas Eve 2007 at Waters Edge Church! Starring Lead Pastor Stuart Hodges!!

Introducing the new breed of shepherds of the church.

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6). This Video Aired on Sunday, July 13th at all of Waters Edge’s Services. Enjoy!

So you mean those in each Waters Edge service were subjected to this? How tragic.

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7). This video aired on Sunday, January 11th as a part of our “Crank It Up” series.

No comment.

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8). This video was part of the finale day in our “House” Series in July, 2008. Rob was awesome!!

After watching this video I have a strange burning in my bosom to go to church . . . and not just any church, but Waters Edge.

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9) This video aired on Sunday, January 25th at Waters Edge Church as a part of our “Crank it Up” Series. Enjoy!!

Using a parody of a sexual dysfunction commercial to promote your “sermon” series is so Scriptural. Didn’t the Apostles do this?

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10). This video was part of the finale day in our “House” Series in July, 2008. Rob was awesome!!

If you need to use a product like this may I suggest you reexamine yourself to see if you’re in the Faith? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

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11). This is a video of the Waters Edge Staff Guys performing “Hangin’ Tough” at Waters Edge in June of 2008. This was a part of our “I Love the 80s” Series.

Uh, what part of “Do not love the world . . .” do you guys not understand?

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12). Every year we do an “emmy awards” type event called The WEC Awards to honor say thanks to all of our volunteers. We make a video for each of the teams and this is the one we did for our setup and teardown team. It was a fun video and I thought you guys at PCI would like to see it. It is kind of a big file so that is why I had to post it online for you to download.

Using MTV as their inspiration . . . that bastion of Christian morals and standards. Listen around the 3:20 mark for the quote “These chairs are so comfortable it will make you feel like you’re not even in church.” And once the show service begins that feeling will only increase.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:15-16

See: Suffering Christianity vs. Chipper Christianity

17 thoughts on “When you can’t tell the difference between the “church” and the world.

  1. indywatchman says:

    Can someone please tell my why it is so necessary for “churches” in America to mimic the world, its ways, and its culture . . . ?

    This is easy. The organizational church looks like the world because it is the world. The institutional, denominational (divided), church is not what our Lord meant when He talked about His body being the Church. Even those who are not classified as “circus” churches have misunderstood. The simple fact that we have built elaborate structures should be some kind of clue. Call them anything you want, but please don’t call them “the Church.” These fabrications are all man made. Jesus wanted an organism not an organization.

    Steve Blackwell
    http://www.indywatchman.com

  2. Okie Preacher says:

    This is sad. It reminds me of something A.W. Tozer said:

    “For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what is was – a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability.

    For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of this world. But of late she had become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers.

    So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured out into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of the delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.

    The great god Entertainment amuses his devotes mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, had taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion.”

  3. This church is not unlike so many across America today.
    In their ‘quest’ to fill their buildings with ‘seekers’ and be attractive to the world, they’ve restorted to being like the world (otherwise, the seeker wouldn’t come).

    http://blogoftheway.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-attracts-someone-to-church.html

    I’m actually in the search process for a new church after putting up with this type of silliness in a church that initially claimed to be focused on bringing people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. After several encounters w/the Pastor and Elders, they’ve made it clear that it’s me who is the problem because I’m too ‘churchy’.

    Even in their mission statement, they now make it clear…
    “Sunday mornings are all about you and your faith journey”

    Freeway billboards promoting the church…

    “Not because you have to but, because you want to”

    “Flip-flops welcome”

    “God isn’t boring, church doesn’t have to be either”

    When confronted with their silliness and lack of Gospel centered teaching, I’m told that their methods are working because they see changed lives on a regular basis and attendance is up. Unfortuantely, when you ask these ‘changed life’ people simple questions about their faith, rarely if ever do they talk of repentance.

    I often feel like I’m the outcast in this environment.
    With so many churches restorting to these emergent concepts, it’s difficult to even find a Bible preaching church anymore.

    Enjoy your blog! Keep preaching the Word and warning the flock!

    ~ktf~
    John

  4. I guess these buffoons have never read the following Scriptures, or any Scripture for that matter, because there is absolutely no fear of God in them; just sophomoric mockery!!

    Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  5. Shama says:

    This isn’t church – it has noting to do with church. It’s just entertainment – like a high school club. Sadly they can call themselves a church and lead many down the broad path to hell.

  6. wearymom says:

    At the watersedge website, I also watched two videos entitled, “Thanksgiving”. The praise of the people interviewed was all for Watersedge…not for Jesus, no talk of the cross or true repentance. I got the sense that these people are very sincere, but sincerely still in their lost state. It is a church of goats…I don’t think there are any true sheep there. This so sad…all those people being led down the wide way to destruction thinking they have found the truth way. We need to pray for them. Makes me heartsick, epecially the video where the preaching of the gospel was mocked. That borders on blasphemy.

  7. I have to agree with Shama … Calling that place a church is a joke. We are able to tell from those idiotic videos that the proper preaching of the Gospel is not present there. I’m pretty confident in saying that the proper administration of the sacraments and exercise of discipline is non existent as well.

  8. If we are going to know the truth about God’s purpose for His church then we must know the truth about the gospel. Those who don’t understand the doctrine of salvation are doomed to not understand the doctrine of the church. If one departs from the Word in the doctrine of salvation his next logical step is to defile himself with the world in his doctrine of the church. Here is how it works: when men do not understand the doctrine of salvation/gospel and reject God’s revealed truth about Himself, man, and God’s Son, he will resort to gospel gimmicks and turn the church into a man-centered gathering place rather than a God-centered equipping place. Instead of being the pillar and support of the truth and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (which once accomplished will produce men and women who are able to stand against the schemes of the devil in this evil age), the church becomes the pillar and support of lies and the gathering place for unconverted sinners in some form of social organization (source).

  9. Bill – they didn’t go to clown school; that’s painfully obvious. There are, however, a couple seminaries that would be honored to call these folk their alumni.

    May God have mercy.

  10. Aragond says:

    You’ve made a fine collection of the folly of trying to win believers by being “relevant”, being worldly, being “culturally attuned”, etc… I’m not remotely surprised by this. Too many organisations and too many institutional denominations fervently believe that numbers is what it’s all about and will compromise and compromise to keep or “win” bums on seats. The “priesthood” has been full for centuries of half-believers and buffoons. And they reap congregations of half-baked or non- believers they must keep entertaining to keep them there.

    Solution? Nothing but the gospel and the Glory of Christ.

    Still, does that sound sanctimonious to say so?

  11. Karen says:

    I am not one bit surprised at any of this. I live in S. Florida and stopped going to a big mega church simply because of this creeping in. I was told they have a big congregation and had to be very versatile in things they do.

    People I believe are hungry for the things of God. But not many churches are giving them the truth, or it’s very watered down. The Gospel of Christ is simple, but men complicate it by adding to the message and adding their own methods.

  12. Joseph says:

    Well, what can be said about this site, and take on Waters Edge church that hasn’t been said about Chernobyl, or some other tragic event in history. First off, I attend Waters Edge, as well as lead life groups at Life Church TV (another church you would undoubted bash). Most of you understand that it’s not the building but the message that saves people. Instead of paying more attention to the approach, you might want to actually listen to the message being presented. You might want to instead of the catchy videos, pay attention to the community groups, missions, and outreaches provided by the church. No, we don’t stand in pews sing hymns; look awkwardly at someone when they sneeze. No, we don’t come ever Sunday dressed to the 9’s trying to impress a God who cares little about what we were, but does care about our souls. Yes, we use technology to the benefit for the kingdom; yes we do put God’s word out to the lost in a new way. Yes, regardless of what the “Pharisees” and “Sadducees” of the day say, Waters Edge will continue its approach for reaching the lost. I wonder what some of you would say about the Apostle Paul, should he show up at your “places of worship” with his radical preaching of the gospel. That was so radical at times, that it caused the mob to stone him, beat him, and imprison him. God bless.

  13. James says:

    Well said Joseph, I have spent my whole life in Churches that often cared more about numbers and committees then the lost that just happened into their doors. Thanks you Stu, Rob, Joseph, Phil and all of the staff and volunteers who are brave enough to look past the critics and “stone throwers” out there. Every service I have been to at WEC can be traced back to one theme. Christ, his sacrifice for me, his desire for me to experience all that he has planned for me here on Earth, and his promise of eternal life in paradise for those that choose to be his followers.

  14. Disgusted says:

    For almost 2 years, I have attended WEC – that is until now. There is no community outreach to speak of, other than getting new members. Not once have I seen a food drive, clothing drive, purchasing of turkeys for Thanksgiving – and if there has been, they don’t tell the congregation about it. Everyone will be happy to know that WEC provided 18 foster children with gifts this Christmas (according to Stu himself at http://www.stuhodges.com)!! I’m sure they were great gifts, but come on – 18 lucky kids is all they can help?!?

    Not to talk too much about the multiple fully loaded Mac computers used by the production team…I would like to talk about something disgusting. Stu preaches about tithing…tithing…tithing! WHY? I don’t know where in the community that money goes – except for one place…

    Ask yourselves one question. Would you agree your pastor should live in a 3600 square foot house, with a 3 car attached garage, 2 car detached garage with a loft, and swimming pool – all on 1.7 acres? If you said “yeah, that’s okay,” would you still agree if you knew he spent $571,300 on that house in July 2011? In the middle of a recession/depression, Stu is asking for your money for his new house!!!

    Maybe he invested well. MAYBE the reason that we don’t do more for the community is because the church needs toys and Stu needs a bigger house. I can’t make this up. Google ” Stuart and tabitha hodges showalter,” I can’t make this up. Frankly I feel robbed, cheated, and lied to. Stu is a snake oil salesman.

    Behind the screens is drama and politics…even though Stu will tell you “this isn’t your old church where you get in trouble for taking a reserved seat, we don’t have church politics.” he demands perfection because without the light show, he couldn’t have a nice house and SUV.

    I’m finding a new church, Water’s Edge is a circus freak show. Male sure to check out next Sunday’s video…I hear it will be rather disgraceful.

  15. fleebabylon says:

    Disgusted,

    Do not place your trust in man and his organizations. Find a fellowship where the elders rule among the people and not over them like mini popes… where there is a living body and not a dead religous system. If you can’t find that seek out one or two true believers and meet from house to house. Churchianity is a circus and is a poor imposter of christianity.

    -Jim

  16. Jim says:

    If you want to start a church and get as many people to come to it as possible, just act like the world and do skits like Saturday Night Live and then teach a watered down gospel where everyone goes to Heaven no matter what. They don’t even really need to show any sign of conversion whatsoever, they just need to repeat a mantra that the pastor says to say and that’s it. No change, right back to the old ways of MTV and video games, probably in many cases, smoking pot, having sex with their boy and girlfriends but because they said the magic mantra, they are saved. Think about this. The reason these mega “churches” are full to the brim is because they are full of the world. If they preached the true Gospel and the Narrow Way, they could never afford those huge buildings and all of the equipment and expenses that goes with them. If you find a church that preaches the solid biblical doctrine that the apostles preached and the Jesus Christ Himself preached, chances are in this day and age, it won’t be very full at all. Most churches ought to open their bibles and start to learn them and put away the entertainment that we are supposed to hate anyway. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

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