In the previous episode of this little series, I wrote about the fortune-telling Encounter Gospel, but now I'm going to explain another great way to have an Encounter With God: Hypnotic Worship!
Here's a quick summary of the new and better Gospel of the Kingdom:
People aren't really that bad, they just need to be convinced of how special they are-they need to understand their "true identity."
Religion is the real source of people's problems, not rebellion against God (sin).
God is desperately trying to get people to "accept" Him, but He's been hindered by the historic Christian Church, with its specific, Biblical teachings about Salvation, Heaven and Hell, The Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all other forms of unnecessary "head knowledge" found in the Bible.
People would believe in God if they could just see some proof for themselves, they need an experience of some sort.
Bethel (and similar NAR churches) know how to give people the proof they need to believe that God is real, He loves them, and He wants all of their dreams to come true so they can fulfill their "Destiny."
How does Bethel teach you to provide proof of God's existence? How can you quickly and easily convert just about anyone you want?
Give people an "Encounter with God." This is the new and better "Gospel of the Kingdom!"
You're practically guaranteed to Encounter God during the worship time at Bethel and churches like it (especially if they've got a moderately capable rock band, an emotional lead singer and plenty of electricity). The important thing is to suspend all of your disbelief and become completely open to the hypnosis of modern praise music (the very lengthy and repetitive songs will certainly help!).
A gigantic church like Bethel, Hillsong, Elevation, or many other wannabe churches can't reach many people when it's done person to person (plus, pastor/celebrities don't often like to mix with the general public). But packing thousands of like-minded, receptive and gullible people into a darkened room allows the full manipulation treatment to work its magic. Rest assured that once you've entered into this carefully controlled environment, the lights, fog machines, music and passionate song leaders will do the rest. You're gonna feel it! (Note: At a normal rock concert you would feel it too, but in this case we will always refer to "it" as God, the Holy Spirit.)
When this mass Encounter really gets going and the crowd is worked up into a frothy madness, the best worship leaders start making stuff up on the spot...
This Encounter thing is so important that churches are scheduling various events in order to make sure everyone has one. For instance, you can have a special Encounter service or conference at your church (the best ones have a guest speaker from Bethel!):
Of course, nothing beats the ultimate Encounter: going to an actual Jesus Culture/Bethel Event!! This is where God spends most of His time! (Although, there is this nagging question: If "one encounter changes everything" why do they keep scheduling these events? Shouldn't everything be changed by now??)
Here's another idea that seems to make sense: simply name your church "Encounter Church" or something like that:
This last Encounter thing is almost too good to be true, I hesitate to even mention it because unless you live in Nashville you'll never get to experience it for yourself. What is it? It's a church full of worship leader/rock stars! And if that isn't enough, they have Encounter Classes!!
In summary, here are the key points to understand:
If your church doesn't have a rock concert of hypnotic worship music you cannot expect the Holy Spirit to make an appearance.
The best way to Encounter God through worship is to purchase, perform and promote Bethel Music, Hillsong Music and whatever other new music is most popular at the moment.
Old people who don't agree to the previous two points can still participate, but they must keep their outdated opinions to themselves.
Young people are incapable of reading and comprehending the Bible, unless it is chopped up into tiny pieces and used as lyrical filler for modern worship music or as proof texts for speeches dramatically performed by appropriately attired pastors whose relatability is insured by their slavish devotion to cultural styles and trends...
Lastly, here are some important things to remember:
"Encountering God" through modern hypnotic worship music was never modeled or taught to the church in the New Testament... so just ignore that.
"Encountering God" as an emotional experience induced by an emotionally manipulative environment was never modeled or taught to the church in the New Testament... so just ignore that.
"Feeling the Presence of God" was never modeled or taught to the church in the New Testament... so just ignore that.
The Holy Bible (God's Word) can be used as a prop to wave around in one's hand as verses get strip-mined to validate life lessons, but it must never command too much attention for itself and cause anyone to become overly religious. In doubt about how to use the Bible? Just ignore it.
Seriously, this is a very important topic; the hope of this article was to grab your attention and cause you to consider things that you might have overlooked and encourage you to more carefully delve into what the Bible actually teaches.
Here's a video with some sobering thoughts:
Here is a related episode of Fighting for the Faith with links to a lot of articles on this topic:
Steven Kozar started The Messed Up Church; he is an artist, musician, blogger and stuff.