For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.–2 Corinthians 2:17
We have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.–2 Corinthians 4:2
For at least two decades or so, evangelical churches that want to aim for “relevance” and that elusive hip factor to attract goats and infant lambs to their nice comfortable buildings (or “pretty much all evangelical churches” for short) in order to expose them to 30 minutes of feel-good motivational lectures and an opportunity to drop some Harriet Tubmans in the plate have done so by making the other 50 minutes of the “experience” or “service” all about pandering to that which they think might be enjoyable to lost people. And one of the most obvious ways to do that is to gin up the concert factor – get some skilled musicians and have them spend hours per week practicing (instead of sharing the Gospel or loving their neighbor) so you have a strong selling point for the next invitee or recipient of a cool stylised invitation postcard in the mail.
As noted many times by many observers of this evangelical trend, their music and catchiness are usually at best 3-5 years behind the times, sometimes more. Thus you have Coldplay music before the service begins, for example. More recently, though, we are seeing these same kinds of religious corporations dip into the treasures to be found in the deeper history of worldly music for inspiration and drawing power. It’s vintage, you know. Perry Noble and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Jonathan Brozozog’s Passion Church and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. That’s going back a few decades, to be sure, but new SBC President Steve Gaines and the Christ-honoring faithful sheep under his godly authority are really upping the ante by back-dating their own utter wastes of time even farther.
Remember that Steve Gaines is the designated successor to Adrian Rogers, that stalwart of the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence who went on to show that at least a huge part of his motivations were to carve out his own kingdom in his own image. Rogers built a huge SBC megachurch. Rogers irrationally lashed out against monergism without knowledge. He built a church culture that thinks it’s cool to hang out in a huge shiny building with plantation-style pillars out front in the middle of a city where 50 babies are murdered per week and do nothing about it. And then that same culture thought it would be a good idea to call up Steve Gaines from the minor leagues to “pastor” their church… and when he demanded a parsonage with a swimming pool as a condition of employment, they acceded instead of rebuking him and finding a godly man to be pastor. SBC power brokering has a lineage, has chosen successors and favored sons. That’s just one more sign they’re not interested in your input, unless it’s the monetary kind.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. The best Ronnie Armani could do was emulate Marty McFly and perform the Floydian Dip on camera again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. You poor evangelical pastor saps who want to attract big giver goats so that they can be guilted into funding Steve Gaines’