The Trend

In the article last week, I made mention that the idea of Sunday being a mandatory day of rest is not a common view any more.  Maybe that’s good.  Maybe that is a sign that people have studied and realized that Sundays are not commanded as a day of rest.  Then again, maybe that is a symptom of a concerning trend.  If, instead, Sunday has become a day of recreation and work because it was inconvenient to waste a day in solemn service to the Lord, then that is a sorry motivation indeed.  The conclusion may be correct, but the reasoning is atrocious.  

If it were just the change regarding the Sunday / Sabbath doctrine, there probably wouldn’t be much cause for concern.  But consider this…

Many churches have fewer assemblies.  It used to be that every church across the nation had Sunday evening services.  Now that is a rarity.

Sermons are getting shorter…by demand.  Over a hundred years ago, a man traveled a great distance to hear Alexander Campbell preach a sermon.  He complained that the sermon had been too short, only to look at his watch and realize Campbell had actually preached for three hours.  The sermon had just been so eloquently delivered that the time flew by without the audience realizing.  But listen to that complaint.  The sermon was too short.  I haven’t heard too many preachers receive that complaint these days.  However, complaints about sermons being too long are frequent (though I happily confess to not hearing that once at Brookhill).

Gospel meetings used to be much longer.  At one time they could last a month or more.  Then they were for a few weeks.  Then they were from Sunday to Friday.  Now, they are just three to four days, if that.   

Do you see the trend?

Let me be clear.  None of the above are inherently wrong.  A church isn’t being unfaithful or less spiritual if they don’t have two assemblies on Sunday.  In some cases, that may be the right choice to promote better, more focused, service to God.  Additionally, there is no correct length for a gospel meeting.  There isn’t even a requirement that we have one.  That’s not the point.  And as for sermons, there is no defined time for how long a sermon should be.  If a long sermon could have just as effectively been communicated in less time, then the sermon probably was too long.  

The point isn’t that any of the above trends are wrong.  The question is whether the trends are a symptom of something that is wrong.  Have we gotten too busy for God?  Are we really seeking Him first (Mt. 6:33) or has this just become a religion of convenience and God is becoming less and less convenient all of the time?  Is that what is happening?  Because if that’s it, then something is seriously wrong.  

God deserves better.  He deserves our best.  If less is better, then let there be less!  If more is better, then let there be more!  But let us be focused on what is best for God and His work rather than what is most convenient for ourselves.