The Caffeine-Free Diet Church

Part 1 of 3

Contender Ministries

 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

 “I don’t really know that much about prophecy,” someone recently told my wife. “That stuff tends to depress me.”  This person is a regular churchgoer, and admittedly preferred hearing “edifying and encouraging” messages in church.  By her own admission, prophecy and apologetics were just too “hard core” for her tastes.  This woman is not at all unusual.  We get comments like this from people all the time, who prefer to go to a “lite church” that doesn’t challenge or admonish, and indeed hesitates to toe any line on biblical doctrine. 

My wife and I live in the Seattle, Washington area.  This is the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee, and you can’t throw a rock around here without hitting an espresso stand.  One thing that always perplexed me is people who would order a non-fat, caffeine-free latte.  Such an order defies logic, and denies the basic purpose of a latte – that is to provide at least four ounces of concentrated wakey wakey juice and leave a frothy moustache on one’s upper lip!  A similar phenomenon is occurring within Christianity today.  Churches that expound the fundamentals of the gospel – that adhere strictly to the truths of the Bible – are dwindling away.  In their place are arising mega-churches that preach a watered-down, morally flexible doctrine that is meant to make everyone smile, but does not challenge or prepare the saints.  These churches are preaching a non-fat, caffeine-free gospel that is leaving its consumers frighteningly unprepared to face the challenges of living in and reaching a godless world for Christ.

Feel Good Theology

Watching the news, reading the paper, or even reading the Contender Ministries news section every day can be unsettling, and even discouraging.  The world in which we live is in a steady state of moral decay.  Trying to find an edifying and heartwarming story on the news each day is like trying to locate a contact lens on the bottom of an Olympic-size swimming pool.   But people want to be happy and want to feel good.  The assurance of the gospel is not enough for us, and so we want those assurances reiterated each and every week at church.  We enjoy reading 1 Corinthians 13, but Romans 1 is just a little to heavy.  Many Christians find the world to be so depressing, that they’d rather disassociate themselves from any non-believers, nest comfortably into the gilded confines of their church sanctuary, and rejoice in simply being right. 

A New Social Theology

Sometimes I feel that if I hear the words “tolerance” or “unity” one more time, I’m going to involuntarily regurgitate my last meal.  It’s not that those words are bad in and of themselves – they’re not.  But in this day and age, those words are being used to promote a social theology, as opposed to a biblical and spiritual theology.  In this new theology, the Bible cannot be taken at face value.  Romans 1 is not edifying and should not be valued, as it speaks of the sins of lust and homosexuality.  John 14:6 is divisive, as it excludes non-Christian faiths and “spiritual traditions.”  This theology is morally and spiritually relativist, and assumes that all roads lead to Rome, or in this case, to salvation.  Many “mainline” Protestant denominations are being swayed by this new pluralist theology, and even some evangelical churches are falling prey as well.  The hard and fast facts of sin and death, salvation by faith in Christ and no other, and the instructions for moral and godly living are compromised where they are perceived as being intolerant of others.  Proponents of this theology will often talk of how Jesus taught a message of love and acceptance.  In truth, Jesus taught of love for other people, but He also spoke of a narrow path to salvation, and He never taught that sin should be tolerated.  

The time has come to ask ourselves if we are truly committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, or are we in favor of what Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong called, “A New Reformation.”  Adherence to the gospel means that we will not always find social acceptance.  It means that we may need to move from our comfort zones to face an increasingly evil world that promotes tolerance for everything but Christianity.  It means that we must equip ourselves, with the help of motivated and biblically sound churches, to engage in battle with the principalities and powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12).  If you are ready to fight the good fight, you cannot be prepared by clinging to a caffeine-free diet gospel.  You must be spiritually fed and motivated to expose the deeds of darkness.   

Part II - Apologetics Does Not Mean Saying You’re Sorry

Part III - The Prophecy Angle


Contender Ministries