Awoke this morning to the KHCB airing Dr Ed Young from Second Baptist Church, as it does every Sunday, and, it being September 11, the Pastor was as usual making any person with the slightest link to public services, such as emergency services but particularly those of LAW AND ORDER, stand up and be recognized. While I myself honor true service and recognize the sacrifice, such displays easily veer off into worship of the police force without ever considering their abuses of power, and I was glad that I no longer attend that megachurch.
We tried a new church in Pearland today: New Harvest Christian Fellowship. https://www.pearlandnewharvest.org/
Very friendly - most of the congregants knew that we were new, and about five or six of them took the time to welcome us without making us feel pressured, which is a very good way to have the congregation recognize newcomers. The music was OK - the lead vocalist had a great voice: rich, powerful, one that could sing any genre of music. Her keyboard skills were passable, as was the rest of the group. Which is how I personally prefer music ministry: everyone having just enough talent to help the congregation prepare to receive the Message but none so talented that they outshine each other and thus risk absorbing people's attention on their particular musicianship rather than worshiping God.
The sermon was very logically laid out, with good quotes primarily from the New Testament.
Sermon title "Who's Your Daddy?"
It started off with an assertion that before 1840, the government supplied all people's needs (which is not in any way true) but that was the only factual error I could perceive in the sermon. This comment did, of course, go hand-in-hand with the American church's anti-government stance.
The Pastor also mentioned rising crime. That came close to fear-mongering.
However, these were to lay the groundwork for the main point, which is that there is nothing to be trusted in this world, as all these realities are the cause of Satan's work in a fallen world for the sole purpose of keeping believers from resting in full security in Jesus Christ.
Relevant passages quoted are as follows:
1 John 2:15-17
2 Corinthians 4:4 - the god of this world has blinded society
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Hebrew word PATEI means to deceive, entice, persuade, allure
... and here he mentioned the quote that grates on my ear, "If My people who are called by My Name ..."
and the pastor again stated that drugs, alcohol, abortions, alternate lifestyles, etc - are all "out of control" ... this argument puts forth a Strawman Fallacy that there was somehow a "more peaceful and Religious past" that, if we all just worship Jesus, will be reclaimed again.
Yes, it is true that, if everyone were a true Follower of Christ, there would be no war. This is because each human being would always provide for every other human being, and then everyone would be provided for. Sadly, though, in the American church, the argument is: if everyone lived like the old 1950s TV fantasy show "Father Knows Best" then everyone would know their place in society and stop making Christians (i.e. White Americans) feel uncomfortable.
Other passages: John 17:15-17 - Jesus' prayer for His followers is not that they should be taken to Heaven too soon, but that they should be left on Earth, albeit equipped to do the work of the Father.
Romans 12:2 - do not conform to this world
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 John 2:15-17 (the pastor opened with this, and closed with this)
The Pastor had a very good analogy of a submarine, which is able to withstand the pressures of the deep because it has corresponding, offsetting pressure inside. The equalization of internal and external pressure allows the hull to remain intact. The World, like the Ocean, will try to pull the believer down into the depths, increasing the pressure to conform. If the believer will read the Bible, they will have corresponding pressure (i.e. strength) to withstand the external pressures of the world.
This is sound doctrine and supported by Biblical principals. However, again, it begs the question of the Believer's interaction with the world. If we truly believe that we have salvation and have access to the Creator of All Things, then why are we still listening to sermons that make us sound like we are wringing our hands and saying, "Oh why oh why does the world not let us worship Christ?"
If we truly believe what we say we believe, we would worship Christ openly EVEN IF to say His name would get us shot in the throat. Ergo, the question is not that the world is making us conform, but that we are so weak in the faith that we are allowing ourselves to be conformed.
Such sermons (and current belief threads in the American Church) are overly focused on "the big bad world is so mean" and not forcing believers to look deep within themselves and confront the intrinsic weakness of their faith.