The Loss of the True Church Service

One of the things that I find most disturbing regarding Evangelical churches today is that they are consumed with what the world thinks about the church service and how they are perceived by the world. There is one thing that is omitted and replaced by a thousand lesser concerns.

The typical church service is about relevance and how it is presenting itself before the world. What is important in so many churches is what comes across to the world.

The consequence of this is the loss of the true church service. We simply cannot have both the true church service and also be concerned for what the world thinks. What has happened is simply a repeat of Satan’s age old strategy of attacking what should be protected for the people of God.

Psalm 74:2-10 Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting places; they have set up their own standards for signs. It seems as if one had lifted up his axe in a forest of trees. And now all its carved work they smash with hatchet and hammers. They have burned Your sanctuary to the ground; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. They said in their heart, “Let us completely subdue them.” They have burned all the meeting places of God in the land. We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, nor is there any among us who knows how long. How long, O God, will the adversary revile, and the enemy spurn Your name forever?

Our churches are being burned down! Spiritually and physically. Spiritually, by the wicked coming in with all of their own ways of doing worship, in which what should be there is now removed, even as flames remove what is good. Physically, in that as traditional churches are closing down they are being destroyed and the land used for other purposes.

What I mean by the true church service is a simple service that is not cumbered with things that take away from worship that is according to the Spirit [John 4:23,24]. The world would have us worship God according to the flesh. This is demonstrated in churches with everything from idols to entertaining music.

The one thing that must never be omitted and must be the only thing that we are about is the true worship of God! The true church service is not about looking toward the congregation, but toward God. Indeed, we are all to be focused on the Lord and not focused on how those among us may be feeling or perceiving what we are about. Mary was right to be focused on Jesus, though her sister Martha perceived that there were more important things she should have been focused on [Luke 10:38-42].

The common objection is that the church will not be relevant and people will not attend.

If we are wanting to compete with sporting events and theatrical attractions then we will be as relevant as they are.

If we do have great numbers, but do not have the Lord, is that not the worse possible thing? It is better to have a few worshippers and yet that blessing that only He can bring. Truly, the problem is that we don’t know what it is like to know the presence of God and we are enslaved to an outward sense of the meeting. We are governed by a secular way of thinking and do not know that peaceful spiritual way of thinking that is just about meeting with Jesus.

Leaders who are influencing the church with this sort of thinking are tools in the hands of Satan who would love to reduce Christian worship to Baal worship.

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?

What the world needs is the Lord, not more of the world. What will truly impact the lost is something they cannot find anywhere else. To be at the feet of Jesus with a solemnity, a seriousness, a power, in which the Holy Spirit speaks the living Word of God to us, is what we are losing.

The Hypocrisy of Calvinism

The Reformed Faith is a proud faith. Those who hold to the position of Calvinism have a spirit of arrogance, cloaked in a pseudo-humility. Pride is commonly found among false doctrines, but it is especially particular to Calvinism. The error of Calvinism’s partiality based upon indifference (i.e., Unconditional Election) engenders pride.

They make no denial or excuse for it. They are unashamed in saying so and make it a matter of emphasis. They wholeheartedly assert that their doctrine is that which alone glorifies God. There is the clear demonstration of pride when there is disdain for those who are counted simple in their soteriology and especially when there is anger against those who would say that Jesus weeps over the lost [Matthew 23:37].

This is hypocrisy. Those who make much of saying that their view honors God need to reflect on Jesus’ words. Read this text from Mark 7:1-13.

The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:



Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

There is much in this passage that exposes the hypocrisy of Calvinism. Just as the Pharisees thought they were the ones who were honoring God, so the Calvinist thinks likewise.

It is important to understand the hypocrisy that our Lord is addressing. It is not what is most commonly thought of as hypocrisy. What is most commonly considered hypocrisy is when someone says that something should be done by all, but then they do not do so.

This is not the hypocrisy that Jesus has in mind.

The Pharisees were not telling people to wash their hands and then were secretly eating with unwashed hands! On the contrary, they were meticulous about the washing of hands before eating.

Their hypocrisy was this, they were misrepresenting themselves by misrepresenting God’s truth.

Jesus was exposing their lie, that they were clean before God because they washed their hands before they ate. This is a particularly vile hypocrisy because it is about twisting God’s holy truth and using it for the purpose of self-glorification. Notice that such an arrogance necessarily includes the wrong spirit that has disdain and anger for those not considered to be similarly honoring God.

It is shocking to see what Calvinists are doing with their own misrepresentation of God’s holy truth, namely His love for all of His image bearers. Ironically, while the Calvinist claims to be the one who is honoring God, he is really about honoring himself!

They say that they honor God but their heart is far away from God. They do not know what spirit they are of. Like the Pharisees in this passage they construct a doctrine in which they invalidate God’s Word, so that the heart of God is opposed by their wrong use of God’s Word. God’s heart is that children should care for their needy parents in their old age, but the Pharisees constructed a doctrine that undermines the burden of God’s heart.

The Calvinist has similarily constructed a doctrine that undermines the burden of God’s heart for the lost, by disguising it as that which alone honors God. This deluding influence is so pervasive and powerful that even the most well known Scripture verse is invalidated by Calvinists.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

They are masters of reconstruction in which they rip out of God’s Word His immeasurable love for all mankind and replace it with a view that then makes them indispensable to obtaining the “truth”. It is a fearful thing to do as the Pharisees have done in invalidating God’s Word, so that men will follow them and glorify them.



I have written a book entitled Recanting Calvinism, which provides numerous counter arguments to the Reformed position. My most recent book Take Up Your Cross: Our Only Power to Live and Walk by the Spirit is a fruition of coming out of Calvinism. I heartily commend both books to you!