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Worldliness in the Church

Worldliness in the Church

Everybody is welcome in the church!  However, there is one thing we cannot abide in the church – worldliness.  Though nearly everyone agrees with this sentiment, there is a major disagreement as to what worldliness actually is.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ten years ago, if asked to describe a worldly church, I would have first thought of the lighting.

White lighting would be classified as holy, colored lighting would be worldly.  Bright lighting is holy, dimmed lighting is worldly.  Fluorescent would be classified as holy, LED…not worldly, but definitely heading in the wrong direction.  After lighting I would think of pulpit attire.  A preacher in a business suit is the most holy; while the guy in jeans and a t-shirt was the most worldly.  Between these two extremes I could describe a very specific range of truly holy ministers and truly worldly ministers.  This was not simply a matter of professionalism – this was a matter of holiness and spirituality.  After lighting and pulpit attire I would think of music.  Loud is worldly; while quiet is holy.  Contemporary is worldly; while old-fashioned is holy.  Pianos, harps, flutes, oboes, and trumpets are holy; while guitars, saxophones, keyboards, and basses are worldly.  On the most extreme ends of the spectrum we have the organ (most holy) and the drum set (most worldly).

The problem was that my entire perspective had nothing to do with the Bible and everything to do with cultural subjectivity.  Many times I had heard preachers read the above passage from Romans and then attempt to describe worldliness.

The Problem with Cultural Subjectivity

“Don’t be like the world!  The world uses colored lights.  The world wears jeans and t-shirts.  The world uses guitars and drums.  Don’t be like the world!  Instead, be ye holy, like God is holy.”  The natural implication is that God and his followers are in business suits, listen only to 18thCentury European music, and the Throne Room of God completely lacks color. 

So, the problem with cultural subjectivity is that none of these things can be proven from the Bible.  These beliefs came into existence just as all non-biblical systems of belief arise: historical context, individual experience, personal preference, combined with a healthy dose of ethnocentrism.

Unfortunately, this perspective does not take into account that every style of music, every style of dress, and every aspect of décor is essentially of the world. It was the world, not God, who invented the business suit, the Roman tunic, the turtleneck, and the skinny jean. None of these had their origin in a heavenly or hellish factory.  They are simply designs of the world.  1970’s wood paneling is no more holy than the contemporary wood paneling of Chip & Joanna Gaines. The style of music for the 1stcentury church would not have included barbershop quartets simply because this style of music wasn’t invented until the 20thcentury.  

So, why have we mistaken our own cultural subjectivity for Biblical precepts? What happens is that many of us who were genuinely converted to Christ decades ago in a wood paneled church, after a song service of mid-20thcentury hymns, during the sermon from a man dressed in a business suit, have a very difficult time with change.  We associate our conversion with the context in which it happened.  We forget that it is the message of the gospel that saved our souls and not the method in which it was delivered.  It’s difficult for us to distinguish between the cultural surroundings of that miracle moment and the spiritual power of the moment itself.  And so, we attempt to replicate the cultural surroundings in an effort to recreate the spiritual power once again.

This is why trying to change the lighting, take down the wood paneling, update the pastor’s wardrobe, or introduce new music to a church is tantamount to heresy.  If we change these things, we may lose the power of God in our church.  This is the fear of many good men and many good churches.

There is another problem with cultural subjectivity being the arbiter of holiness vs. worldliness.  What about those who are even more conservative than you?  Does this mean they are more holy than you?  Are you more worldly than they?  Are the Mennonites objectively more holy than the Independent Baptists because tend to dress more conservatively?  Are the Amish objectively more holy than the Mennonites because they won’t use modern machinery or drive automobiles?  Are the Essenes of Jewish antiquity objectively more holy than the modern Amish because they in caves near the Dead Sea and loathed all comfort? If someone believes that another group is genuinely more holy because they are more conservative in outward appearance and separation from modern culture – then that person should attempt to live in the most conservative lifestyle possible. 

But, perhaps, holiness has less to do with outward appearance and more to do with an inward spirituality.’

Carnality vs. Spirituality

I Corinthians 3:1, 3-4 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

So then, how can we Biblically define worldly?[1][2]Perhaps it is helpful to understand another biblical term: carnal.  Carnality is always contrasted with spirituality and connotes an individual who is more concerned with the needs of his flesh than the needs of his spirit. The carnal man is focused continually on this physical, temporal, tangible world.  The Apostle Paul spoke to the Christians in Corinth and explained to them that He’d like to speak to them as mature Christians, moving them into a deeper understanding of God and the grace of the Gospel, but he was hindered by their glaring carnality.  They were acting like babies.  Babies who are always and only focused upon their own immediate physical needs and desires. Then Paul describes the carnal man.  They are full of envy, strife, and division.  Carnality or worldliness then is indicated not by someone’s outward appearance but their inward sins and inability to get along with other Christians.  He says, “Are you not carnal?  Are you not walking like the men of the world?” 

Biblically speaking, the worldly and carnal Christian is not the one who dresses in a contemporary way, lives in a contemporary house, or listens to contemporary music.  The worldly and carnal Christian is the one who can’t get along with other Christians. This is the one who causes strife and division in the local church because they aren’t getting their way! 

Biblically speaking, the worldly and carnal Preacher is not the one who dresses in a contemporary way, lives in a contemporary house, or listens to contemporary music.  The worldly and carnal Preacher is the one who is continually envious and jealous of other ministries.  This is the preacher who causes strife and division in the global family of God because they aren’t getting their way!  These are the hyper-separatists who believe it spiritual to openly criticize other ministers of the Master.   

Paul goes on to describe this kind of carnality.  They find it necessary to divide into groups based upon who their favorite spiritual leader happens to be.  I am a follower of Paul!  I am a follower of Apollos!  They seem to be overly obsessed with associations, connections, and separations. Is this not carnal?  Is this not what the world does?

Paul was also concerned that the Galatian church, who was battling legalism and pride, understood the difference between carnality and spirituality. 

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told youin time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In this list we see adultery, idolatry, hatred, wrath, strife, heresy[3], emulation (competition), among other sins as the natural indicators that someone is a carnal man – or a man who is living as if they had never been saved.  However, notice that when Paul is speaking of carnality and worldliness he doesn’t address any of the outward signs of carnality and worldliness that so many others attempt to apply. 

So, today a preacher can be blatantly hateful, given to bursts of wrath, promote hyper-separatism, and teach as doctrine the traditions of men – however, if he still wears a businessman’s suit, decorates his auditorium in a denominationally approved manner, and has “conservative” music – He is considered a spiritual leader? But what saith the Scripture…

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

We look back to the carnal behavior of long-dead preachers as a way to excuse our own carnality.  “He said terrible things, I can say terrible things.  He was secretly unfaithful, I can be secretly unfaithful.”  We look to the worldly tactics of modern corporate leaders as a way of validating our own cruel treatment of employees and teammates. “This is how good business is done. Let’s ignore the words of Jesus, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them…But ye shall not be so’.”[4] We look to the brash and arrogant style of modern politicians to justify our own ungodly leadership style.  “He’s a jerk and seems to be successful.  I suppose I can be a jerk too.” 

Is this not the essence of Carnality?  Is this not the true definition of worldliness?

The greatest problem in redefining worldliness to something as shallow as current fashions, current music, and current decorating styles is that we entirely miss the dangers of true worldliness.  Like the Pharisees of the past we strain at the gnat of hairstyle and swallow the camel of vitriol.  We can accept adultery, idolatry, hatred, wrath, and strife – but please don’t change your music.

Patiently Becoming and Patiently Waiting

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, thathe which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I have to be doubly patient.  I have to be patient with me and I have to be patient with others.

When I see the worldly and carnal man described in Galatians 5:19-21I notice that he looks a lot like the old man I see every day in the mirror.  When others are hateful toward me, oh…I want to return that hatred with even stronger hatred. When I’m attacked, I want so badly to retaliate as the worldly leader tends to do.  I can sense the old wrath wanting to boil up in me, and I really don’t want to calm down, smile, and turn the other cheek.  But something has been happening to me…

I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t.  The man in the mirror has slowly been transforming into the guy described in Galatians 5:22-23.  It’s almost like he’s slowly killing off the old guy and taking his place permanently.  Don’t get me wrong, the other guy keeps showing up.  Most of the time at the very worst possible moment.  Like Dr. Jekel or Bruce Banner, I’m not sure I will ever be fully rid of the other guy until I’m greeted by death.  However, the longer I walk with Christ, the less I see of the other guy.  I patiently wait for the Holy Spirit to slowly transform me from the inside out. It began when I decided to stop being conformed by this world and allow the gospel to transform and change my mind.

Not only must I patiently wait upon Christ’s work in my life, I must also patiently wait upon Christ’s work in the life of others.  The same Holy Spirit that is slowly transforming me is also slowly transforming my brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is the promise found in Philippians 1:6.

So, holiness? – I’m getting there because I have someone taking me there.  And worldliness? – Well, it seems to have less a hold on me as I continue to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit.  I simply have to be patient with myself and with my fellow servants of Christ.

So, do you think it is important for us to return to a Biblical definition of worldliness and holiness?  Have you ever experienced a culturally subjective definition of worldliness and holiness as described in this article?  Where have I gone wrong?  What have I said that is true?

I want to hear from you!  Comment Below:

Also – please share this post if you think it might be a help to another Christian who needs to wrestle with a Biblical understanding of worldliness and holiness!

 

 

[1]For a far more thorough definition and explanation of worldliness I would suggest the book WORLDLINESS by C.J. Mahaney.  Here he deals with the modern Christian’s addiction to excessive luxuries, constant entertainment, and antipathy toward modesty.  This is a truly convicting read.

[2]https://tinyurl.com/y96sr6jc

[3]Heresy – Teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. – Matthew 15:9

[4]Luke 22:24-30

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53 Comments

  • Reply
    Dorena Berger
    September 1, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Just seems to me that the world dresses up for things that are important to them. For example, weddings, funerals, confirmations and a number of other events. Shouldn’t we as Christians dress our best for what should be the most important thing to us; our time when we come together to praise and worship our Savior?

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 1, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Great comment Dorena! Thank you for being bold enough to be the first one. Yes – In some parts of the world they do. This is a tradition of the world and it’s absolutely fine to follow it. The Bible is silent on the matter. What is not okay is to classify it as holy or spiritual.

  • Reply
    Cornelio sacramento
    September 1, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Bro.we should as christian believers to discern the difference between right and almost right…holy and almost holy….spiriritual and almost spiritual. Easy to make our own opinion and choose preferences but the bottomline is.. is all what we do pass the standard of God’s holiness? Is it glorifying Him? Dont make anything base on our own rich mind but in the wisdom (the fear of the Lord) what a mess when Jeroboam who make Israel sinS…He make his own worship place his worship style…appealing to himself forgetting that our audience in worship is The MOST HOLY GOD WHO SET EVERYTHING TO WORSHIP HIM.READ THE INSPIRED WORD STUDY IT DILIGENTLY 2 TIM.2:15…BIBLE TRUTH IS NOT RELATIVE….

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 1, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Cornelio, thank you for the comment. I’m not sure I understand the question. Could you clarify?

  • Reply
    Shawn D. Haynie
    September 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Great article! Thanks for the insights. I know blog space is limited and this is an extensive subject, but I would submit that I John 2:15-17 help us define worldliness – lust of flesh, lust of eyes, pride of life. And these all follow the same basic tenet of the article – it is an inward attitude, not just an outward manifestation.
    Thanks again for posting!

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 1, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Shawn. Great addition to this study. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Gary Kubik
      September 5, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Yes! Eve was guilty of these three things and all it took was a piece of fruit! (Gen.3:6) Think about the lunacy if Adam and Eve sat under the ascetic, legalistic preaching that floods the church today: “The world eats grapes and I heard some of you were at the grocery store with some in your buggy…don’t you know grapes come straight from the pits of hell!!” (Or whatever fruit it was they ate 😁)

  • Reply
    Michael
    September 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    There are places for stronger and weaker brethren in the Body… Juat as there is place for stronger and weaker brethren in the pulpit… so I am slow to judge… but, as for me and my house…. I cant have contemporary music, jeans in the pulpit, pit lights and think im anywhere but a production of the world, not the worship place of God.
    God bless. P.s. if you sen me an email reply text me or I wont know when to check through all the spam. Lol

  • Reply
    Michael
    September 1, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    P.s. and I dont think it is just a lingering of my search for “the power thereof” that was present when I was saved in my non-church going fathers bedroom… But, rather…. whatsoever is not of faith is sin…. too mich like the world for me… The beat, appeals to my flesh, and casual christianity convict my heart too much before God. God bless your sincerity and ministry… a lesser man or friend would not receive these replies.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      MIchael – great question! We’ve been friends for many years and I know it’s a sincere comment. Your dealing in the realm of predominant association. I.E. – if I only know piano music from the town bar and then walk into church where they are using the piano to worship God, I will stumble at the church using a worldly instrument to worship their God. This is why it is so important to teach our new believers the power of God to redeem.
      Some things in life must be received because they are inherently good. Sunlight, Apple Pie, and Alabama Football come to mind.
      Some things in life must be rejected because they are inherently evil. Prostitution, child abuse, torture come to mind.
      Some things in life can be redeemed because they are neither inherently good or evil but can be used for either.
      When you see Mariam leading the children of God in worship on the other side of the Red Sea – you see them using many different musical instruments. Where did these slaves (in captivity for 400 years) get these musical instruments? Well, they gat them from the world. But they and their instruments had been redeemed. The same thing is true with those who were in the Babylonian Captivity and then released. Study the musical instruments that were used in worship of King Nebuchadnezzar and then compare them to the instruments used at the rededication of the Temple. Same list. The people and the musical instruments had been redeemed. They could now be used of God and bring glory to their creator! Fascinating!
      Teaching this will also bring great glory to God because it allows us to see the totality of His redemptive power!

      • Reply
        Michael
        September 3, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Josh, thank you for receiving my reply in the Spirit for which it was sent. Indeed I count you a long time friend and dear brother in the Lord! I am blessed to see your ministry thrive and your witness for the Lord be abundant! I still remember a time when I went to a memorial service in Pensacola… it was a second memorial service for the peruvian missionaries who were mistakenly shot down as drug runners. Steve Green himself was at the memorial service and sang at least a couple times with piano and some beat.
        Alas, the choir was rocking out. I would have walked out but i had been invited by my dads cousin (Uncle John to me). Not because of the association, but the spirit and manner of behavior that was being considered fitting and Godly.. I am not here to judge… I have only seen pictures of your church/worship setting… but, the use of a specific instrument does not mean they were used in the same manner… You and I both know a very conservative college that uses drums…. do we not? We also need to not go to the other extreme and say that are manner of use does not matter to God… just because all things are lawful unto us. God bless you and yours and your ministry… this will be my last post on this blog… Preach the Word at morning, night, and noon! 🙂

      • Reply
        Michael
        September 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm

        Pardon me… Pastor Josh Teis. 🙂
        God bless you

      • Reply
        Michael
        September 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm

        As a side note… It was the only time in my life that I heard Steve Green live and it was such a blessing to hear him sing. It wasnt his ministry that bothered me thst day.

  • Reply
    Lashonda
    September 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    There you go again Pastor! Just hitting another home run! Amen and amen! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 1, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      Awe! thanks Lashonda! We love you too!

  • Reply
    Elisabeth Watkins
    September 1, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    My stomach dropped reading this. I’ve been thinking of all the churches I’ve been to (missionary kid here) that spent much of their time railing against “worldly” Christians, those who compromised on their clothes, music, and worship style. They called them names and personally attacked them. I think of all the Christian colleges in IFB circles (PCC, WCBC, BJU, HAC, etc.) that claim to avoid worldliness but have speakers that attack the other’s decisions, positions, and even beliefs. These disagreements are voiced in the pulpit, on a blog, by Sword of the Lord, in conferences, but never face to face. And they seem to thrive off of them. How embarrassing that the way these brothers in Christ address each other can be compared to a Taylor Swift and Katy Perry rivalry. How awful to think that because their focus is in the wrong place they are instrumental in causing division, all the while believing they are doing what’s right.

    I’m not trying to paint with a broad brush (I am most familiar with the IFB, so just speaking from my point of view). It’s just frustrating and frightening when churches claim that inward transformation is what’s important, but then the frequency, attention, and opinions given towards outward appearances state otherwise. I think this is why so many Christians have a hard time distinguishing between what’s cultural and what’s actually biblical.

    All that said, I know lots of Christians that the above doesn’t apply to. They show love and grace when they are criticized, they are able to have honest discussions about controversial subjects without condemning the other as an unbeliever, they can agree to disagree respectfully, and above all they point to Jesus.

    Thank you for addressing this topic.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      Elizabeth. Yes. We’ve all experienced the wide spectrum of Christians and churches regardless of the denomination we find ourselves in. THank God for the remnant of believers in each movement that are being true to the gospel and following THe Spirit of Christ.

  • Reply
    Rey Villarreal
    September 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Very good read! Thankyou for being bold and Spirit lead! I pray that many will understand the differences you pointed out between godly holiness and religious holiness! Very well worded and explained!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks Rey!

  • Reply
    Garrett
    September 2, 2018 at 12:25 am

    This is not exactly what I was expecting when I first began to read… Tho now I can say I was pleasantly surprised! I think much of the problem today is mistaking some sort of personal standard of living for spirituality. We somehow believe ourselves to be spiritually significant because of the standards we keep…how foolish of us. I was there not that long ago. I have since come to the understanding that our lives as believers must be lived and walked in the Spirit. Sure, we may say that’s what we believe, but do we truly understand what it means? Or do we continue to live and walk in our standards and confuse Spirit filled living with standard filled living? Then when someone we meet doesn’t meet our standards…well then, they must be worldly. If we fill our lives with rules that somehow govern our spirituality, we become less and less dependant upon the Spirit who is to have complete control… I’ve certainly not even touched the hem of the garment, so to speak, when it comes to Spirit filled living, but I sure want Christ to prove and reprove by His Spirit, and allow Him to have His way in my life. (Look at Ephesians 4-5)
    Thanks for the insight!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Garrett. Great insight. To take pride in our personal standards and demand conformity of others is the essence of worldliness. His is just what the Pharisees did. Where did they learn it? This is what the Romans did. They learned it from the world. WOW!

  • Reply
    Josh Cehulik
    September 2, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Christians worship is like a straight gate and narrow road that Jesus speaks of in the gospels. A great deal of your perspective about the local church and how it worships is dependent on where you are on that road.
    We all should adhere to the same road signs warning us of danger, we all should heed the lines in the road that guide us where we should travel and where we should stay away.
    All of us realize the road we are on is taking us somewhere, some new place, some new experience, some new way of living, and ultimately to our heavenly home.
    We also realize that the road has taken us from somewhere, some valley that has been walked through, some mountain that has been climbed, and so many things that are deeply meaningful.
    If you are new to the road don’t mock those who have travelled a long time and would like to remember the great things God has done, they will be less impressed with the “new” experiences. Rather listen and learn and rejoice with them.
    Secondly, if you’ve been on the road for a while don’t discount those who just got here and how incredibly excited they are about what new thing God has in store for them.

    How should we worship?

    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

    The answer is “worship God in unity through our diversity”
    https://youtu.be/TKJ-BVHTxaw

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Yes! Well said.

  • Reply
    Meghan Ward
    September 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    ‪I’ve attended churches that have pastors in jeans and contemporary style music for corporate worship and I’ve attended churches that have pastors in double breasted suits and hymns for corporate worship. I can tell you that both kinds of churches can base their opinions of the others on personal opinion and pride rather than the Bible. The only church I was ever personally judged on my clothing choice for was a contemporary-style church.

    When we base our beliefs on the Bible, we find that we all have a natural, fleshly tendency to believe our way is better. Personally, I find that when music is focused on an emotional response (which drums and leading base lines can do), then it’s more difficult to biblically worship as the New Testament Church was commanded in Ephesians 5:19 with a spiritual focus. But contemporary worship can be biblical! Music like hymns can be unbiblical when we go through the motions of songs we’ve heard a thousand times and don’t use these songs as the New Testament Church was commanded in Ephesians 5:19 to edify each other or praise Him with the melody of our hearts.

    The true issue is that Christians with biblical doctrines are not loving each other the way Christ commanded and we’re focusing on self-proclaimed motes rather than biblical beams. Perhaps we should be caring less what one Pastor thinks of another’s wardrobe and caring more about how one Pastor can love and support another Pastor. And that goes for the conservative Pastor with suits and hymns AND the contemporary Pastor with jeans and drums.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Meghan! Great thoughts.

      Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

      This passage is helpful for the conservative who has a tendency to demand conformity. But it is EQUALLY helpful to the progressive who has the tendency to demand conformity!

      We should not pressure other churches to look like the church the Holy Spirit is leading us to lead.

  • Reply
    Donna Pond
    September 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    My thoughts, because I wrestle with this topic a lot.

    I took me a year to find the church that I attend.
    Reasons we finally chose it:
    The people were involved. They had so many adult Sunday School classes it took us months to visit them all before we chose which one we were going to attend weekly. (The church is NOT a mega church. It is not big but not small) The church had AWANAS and was not hurting for volunteers. Members came out to participate, young, old, and everywhere in between. Same for Vacation Bible School. Each year we have so many volunteers that I only teach one twenty minute period for one age-group all the other spots are taken.
    The people genuinely care about serving God. I sit with them, I talk with them, we have open conversations about God They want to see others saved and they reach out to the needy both in our church and across the world.
    The older people and the younger people all worshipped together and had great relationships with each other. It was also a church that encouraged and trained young people (jr. high, high school, college) to serve as well. They could work VBS or serve in AWANAS (if they were not actively in it) and were encouraged to so.
    What I did not notice were that the ladies wore pants, or that they had an orchestra with drums, or that they put the words on the screen instead of singing out of hymn books. But it was sure pointed out to me how worldly my church was. In fact, just twice last week, I was sort of put down or let known by others that they could never attend such a worldly church as mine.
    Quote paraphrased, “Well, you know….. you try to get memberships by the music in your church. I like the older music. I could never attend your church.” “The ladies in your church, well… they wear whatever they like.”
    “I think that we are looking for a more, you know, conservative church, where they are not so worldly. They only attend your church because of the dress and the music.” I get a bit discouraged every time I hear it.
    Of course, now I am the worldly, liberal, backslidden one. How could I attend such a church?!? I’m not sure, myself. But, I love being involved in this church, the Sunday school, chime choir, orchestra, AWANA’s, VBS, Ladies Bible study, and nursery. I love the friendships and the encouragement to follow Christ with the fellow church members that I see each week. We encourage each other and lift each other up to follow God and pray for each other.
    It is so easy to be on the outside of a “worldly” looking church and make judgment calls. Been there, done that. However, having been part of “conservative churches”, “liberal churches” and attended churches that weren’t even “Baptist”. I have found that a lot of people, in all kinds or churches, really do want to follow after God and His ways. We should find the church that God wants us in and serve and love others.
    I Corinthians 9
    19. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

    20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

    21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

    22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

    P.S. My pastor, outside of church, wears leather jackets and rides a motorcycle. (and witnesses on his motorcycle journeys)

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Donna. I have seen this prejudice many times myself and understand how disheartening it can be. What is refreshing is that so many pastors who are more conservative have begun to see the heart of those who may be more progressive (in meathods) and realize that they love God and are accomplishing Kingdom work. They don’t feel pressured to become less conservative but they also don’t feel the pressure to attack those who don’t hold to their personal preferences.

  • Reply
    Jonette Bumgarner
    September 2, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Great article, and so true. I was saved and baptized in a Southern Baptist Church in Sutter, California. The Pastor at the time was a native Texan. He was normally soft spoken, but when he began to preach, oh, could he deliver a sermon! Sometimes he wore a suit and tie, but he was most comfortable in button down shirt, slacks, and cowboy boots. Our songs came from a Baptist Hymnal, and I am sure our piano came over on the ark. Lighting and seating were simple (think hard wooden pews) but there was love in that Church. I went for a visit about a year ago. Different Pastor, very few of the same folks, and an increase in worldly attitude. still lovely people, but worldly, non the less. The Church i have been with for the last 25 years is an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. I have attended other churches for a visit, and was a bit unnerved by the worldliness. I am a firm believer in; ‘be ye not conformed by the world’. I have noticed as I get older that I am becoming more conservative, and I like it. so, again, great article.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks Jonette.

  • Reply
    Danny Foss
    September 2, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    This post tremendously suffers from woefully poor reasoning and worse yet poor Bible study skills. If Teis would have thought through his subject more properly then he wouldn’t have united and blurred two distinct things in the Bible, leaving all who read this post with an unthinking mind to assume they really learned something, but are instead more confused than they were beforehand. The two separate things are carnality and worldliness. 1 John 2:15-16 differentiate these two. Carnality is flesh, fleshliness, things that come or pertain to the flesh. The word carnal is from Latin, and the same root is for the Hispanic dish carne asada, carne meaning meat, and asada roasted or grilled. Carne is the word used in the Spanish Bible for flesh. Hence, carnality is not the same as worldliness for carnality generates from the flesh, from inside the person as Gal. 5 is a list of those expressions or fruits of it. However, worldliness pertains to things of the world, things that generate from the world on the outside of us. By the way, carnality is more than just the few things that Teis pulled out of 1 Cor. 3—there’s more to it in the chapter itself as well as the rest of the book of 1st Corinthians. That was the Corinthian Christians underlying problem that made them carnal and not spiritual and so the whole book is rather a large analysis of it.

    Let’s take a look at what the Bible actually says about worldliness, the purported intent of Teis’ article. Now, the term worldliness does not occur in the Bible but the concept is definitely there. The term “world” actually has most of its appearances in the NT instead of the OT though the OT is much longer (206 of the 252 verses it appears in) which is because there’s more of a fight against the world and worldliness in New Testament Christianity now than under the Old Testament. OED defines worldliness as “The condition of being worldly; devotion to worldly affairs to the neglect of religious duties or spiritual needs; love of the world and its pleasures.” WEB1828 defines it as “A predominant passion for obtaining the good things of this life; covetousness; addictedness to gain and temporal enjoyments.” Both definitions are pretty good, but the Bible is even more precise, since it’s coming from a holy and righteous God who obviously knows what it is. Just like carnality is that which pertains to the flesh, worldliness has to do with the world. So, that’s the key to this study, going and seeing what the Bible says of the world and anything/anyone in connection to it.

    “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world…” Gal. 1:4. Here this present world is described by Paul, and by the Lord God writing through him as being evil. John further says it lies in wickedness. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19. So, it’s obviously not good. It appears that in a short amount of time, from the Garden of Eden to the point that God destroyed mankind with a worldwide flood (sans 8 – 2 Pet. 2:5), that they became so full of evil that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5). God called that the wickedness of man. If this present evil world is wicked, it’s because man has been wicked and made it that way. Evil can be cloaked as to what it is so this is not so helpful to identify it necessarily (may not appear on the surface as evil), but basically any evil things generated from outside of us and put out publicly by the world should constitute worldliness.

    “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Eph. 2:2. This shows the world/worldliness has a course, a usual progression. Would you accept that the world and worldliness are opposite from God and godliness? Samson and Jonah would be examples of those that got away from God, and I believe it a striking picture/type that both of them went down from where they were physically, and is therefore a comment as to what happens to us spiritually when we get away from God, that we go down spiritually. Worldliness tends to draw people down spiritually, away from God. That can be shown in this verse in that you subject yourself to the Devil (definitely away from God), and that worldliness also is connected to disobedience or rebellion (and here also shown to be childish [“children of”], i.e. spiritually immature). When you subject yourself to worldliness, you are subjecting yourself to “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), i.e. Satan who is blinding people to the truth, taking them down spiritually.

    “…and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27. The world has a bad habit of soiling, contaminating, defiling, polluting, tarnishing and tainting us as sinful human beings. Part of the problem as Christians is that we aren’t supposed to get that way. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27. That is His desire for the church. Does He have to keep working hard on you to clean you up because you keep going back to world and getting spotted and defiled by it? Do you make His job tougher and more exasperating as you keep going back to the slop troughs like pigs do? The world is contaminating in its influence.

    “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4. The world/worldliness is antagonistic toward God. If we are now the friends of God as the saved, we by definition cannot be friends with the world. God here calls that spiritual adultery and enmity with Him. Strong terms! Is that judgmental? Is that harsh words, and blatantly hateful? Careful because if you remember, it is GOD talking in the verse there.

    “…that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet. 1:4). To corrupt is to change the condition of something from sound, reliable, to something rotten, putrid, worthless, or at least lose its purity. The more you hang around the world and become worldly the more likely you’re going to lose your purity. The wise and proper, godly pastor will try to keep out worldly elements from his church so that people won’t be corrupted; plus he would warn people from it as well. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” 2 Pet. 2:20. A pastor that puts people back into a worldly environment may be actually getting them entangled back on the things that were polluting them and destroying them. I will break thought here to apply this—that’s why using rock-and-roll style music is WRONG. Rock-and-roll is pure sensuality even inherent in the music itself. You may lie to yourself and say music is amoral but you are strongly misled/deceived. The beat and style of rock-and-roll is sensual in itself. You can tell just by listening to it. Let little babies listen to it and they will begin to sway and want to move to the music. As one well defined it “Music is communication from heart to heart that bypasses the intellect.” Music is a powerful medium and a very emotional thing because we are made to be emotional beings. That’s why soothing music will calm you down, and rock-and-roll has people think sensually (the term for it is an old gutter term anyway). So many rock musicians know that is inherent in the style, saying “Rock music is sex” or “rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal to sexual desire” etc. Even rock musicians know it is wrong to using worldly beats and rhythms for church music. Even if CCM is supposedly just Christian words set to worldly music styles (Teis would like to say contemporary music styles), then by that thing alone it should be rejected.

    “…the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1 Cor. 7:31 (see also 1 John 2:17). Inevitably, the world/worldliness is unsatisfying, unfulfilling. Only God is truly fulfilling (see Ps. 16:11 in the KJB). The fashion of the world, contemporary style (not the direct meaning of the term here but certainly a feasible and acceptable understanding of it in context), that’s just the latest taste in dress, ornaments, possessions, etc. It will pass away, but the word of God won’t! (Mt. 24:35). Are you trying to win the world or are you trying to catch up to it? Are you trying to hear about the latest fad and follow it? That’s a good determiner if you are worldly. “…that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15. If it’s popular with the world, it’s most likely not so with God. If you are truly trying to follow God, quit trying to follow world’s styles, fashions, and other popular things. Jesus is NOT popular with the world (or worldlings). The world is not something we should strive to catch, but what we should strive to get VICTORY over. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. It is absolutely a flat out waste anyway to go after the world. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mk. 8:36. Investing in souls is a whole lot more important. It is an eternal investment.

    “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:13. The world has a tendency to hate Biblical Christians because it hated Christ first (John 7:7, 15:18-19). They may proclaim “love wins” but if you tell them what they are doing is sin they say you are full of hate. Why is it the ones that preach the Bible, God message of love, grace, and full pardon from sin, are the ones said to be hateful? Maybe it is the worldly ones that are first hateful and, like Democrats, usually blame others for the very things they are guilty of to try to deflect the attention away from their faults or even crimes. Jesus explained about this hate, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:20. They are hating the light of God in us genuinely born again believers because they are convicted what they are doing is wrong.

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. The world has a tendency to try to draw you in to love it, so it is an enticing thing that gets people emotional if you try to tread on it. But, we have got to resist the world and die to it just as we are to die to self (to be crucified to the world and it to us—Gal. 6:14). “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:2. Get your eyes off of worldly things and get them on to Jesus (Heb. 12:2).

    “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16. Why do Christians keep being allured to the things of the world when we are not made for it as Christians anymore? We are different now. We are denying and defrauding our saved nature by trying to link up with this world. “…and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Eze. 36:23. The church is such a poor testimony for Christ today likely due to its lack of separation from the world. They know it’s wrong, and they expect Christians to be different than the world; that’s because we’re not from this world, we’re from a Heavenly world… As G. Campbell Morgan said long ago, “The church did most for the world when the church was least like the world.” How much like the world is your church? It’s kind of hard to turn the word upside down (Acts 17:6) when you are trying to look like it, act like it, and so enamored with worldly styles, etc. Say goodbye to really being effective in seeing people saved and living separated lives for God. I would hasten to say such is included in their lack of growth as shown in Mt. 13:22, Mk. 4:19.

    You may notice, I did not mention one time the verse Teis claims is the predominant text verse for preaching against worldliness, Rom. 12:2. But, no matter. I think this simple study to be satisfactory and sufficient to see the serious consequences of filling yourself up with the world, i.e. with worldliness. It’s too bad that Teis really suffers from poor exegesis. Sadder still are all that blindly follow his blog here, swallowing whatever he has to say, not being thinking people. Worldliness is a virulent and extremely dangerous thing for the child of God, and if Teis cannot even properly understand what it is Biblically then it is extraordinarily dangerous that he is not warning his people about it!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      Mr Foss. Thank you. Though your comment brings up several interesting points, I will not be answering. I’ve made the decision that I will not dialogue with someone who cannot do so without engaging in personal attacks and using incendiary words. I believe our disagreements need to be handled differently than the way the world deals with disagreements. I have no problem discussing disagreements with Christian gentlemen. But we must discuss them as distinctly Christian gentlemen.

      • Reply
        Danny Foss
        September 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        I can appreciate your call to high standards but there is a place for Biblical and thorough reproof and rebuke of concepts that are proclaimed wrongly. You wrongly combined the distinct things of carnality and worldliness and you have left a lot of people, whoever is reading your blog, in a confused state, as well as an extremely dangerous position not having been warned about true worldliness. A causer of strife and division is NOT by definition a worldly person, no matter your “new insight” here, unless you want to be consistent and say that Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah or Elijah were “worldly” therefore. I sought to dispel the wrong reasoning and correct the concept brought forth here by your strange stance. Please don’t deflect the important things I have brought up here. If you cannot listen to detractors then it doesn’t appear you are “valiant for the truth” nor that you “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Truth never fears a challenge. I too want to speak to Christian gentlemen, but I find it ironic you say what I said was incendiary when in your previous post you felt very free to say that people against you and your philosophies are bullies, religious traditionalists, Nicolaitans, and agents of the Devil. There was no benefit of the doubt there (Phil. 2:3) nor very much at all in this article here. What did I say that was incendiary to you? You feel free to slur people that are not like you and your neo-evangelical philosophies but when someone out of all honesty and a Biblical basis soundly confronts you then you claim that I am not a Christian gentleman. Can you accept reproof? I am asking that honestly.

        • Reply
          Danny Foss
          September 3, 2018 at 8:55 pm

          I, for one, appreciate your clarifications to this blog posting. Thank you, Mr. Foss – you were able to briefly articulate what my spirit was sensing as I read through the original post.

          • The Original Danny Foss
            September 4, 2018 at 7:40 am

            Ha! I don’t know who wrote this, but thanks for the expression of support. Whoever it is please try not to impersonate me or other people since it is misleading–I simply suppose it was a slip-up. God bless you.

  • Reply
    ruth uhl
    September 2, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I wonder why the popular view isn’t vice versa? I usually hear about semi- anti talks against suits, hymns, blah blah blah…yet biblically is there wrong doing? On both ends when the motives and purpose aren’t for God’s sake… it’s wrong.
    I just wonder why it seems it’s ok to promote not wearing suits, but woe if you do? Maybe just my perspective… I rarely here from pastors or people saying that or associating standards=holiness(as of yet… I’m sure I may- it’s definitely a possibility) but I’ve been hearing plenty of opposition? I wonder why that is…*shrugs but as with anything else there’s nothing new under the sun. Let’s continue our focus 1 Corinthians 10:31

  • Reply
    ruth uhl
    September 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Pondering Thoughts,

    There is another problem with cultural subjectivity being the arbiter of holiness vs. worldliness.  What about those who are not less conservative as you?  Does this mean they are holier than you?  Are you more wordly than they?  those who choose to wear what they consider their best are they objectively “more conservative” because tend to dress more conservatively?  Are those who are content to simply have an organ and piano objectively more holy than those who don’t because they won’t use modern music or play modern songs,  Are those who don’t raise their hands/ say amen objectively more holy than the above because they in their “perceived deadness” loathed all comfort? If anyone believes that a conservative group is holier because they are more conservative in outward appearance and separation from modern culture – then they’re casting a stigma… they’re worldly/carnal groups on every end of the spectrum… and in between… conservative/ liberal are subjective and certainly in the eye of the beholder… in God’s eyes we are leveled… and the standard is His Word ( we all miss the mark). In the end we’re all held responsible for ourselves… and the standards & convictions we choose to follow.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Beautiful observations. This is why we have been given Romans chapter 14. LOVE IT!

  • Reply
    Jesse Ramirez
    September 3, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Pastor Josh, thank you for this well written and inciteful blog post. You’re right on point when you wrote that preferences in dress, music, and decor are culturally subjective and not biblical. Sometimes people forget that the Gospel can be preached in many different environments. As for me, I was saved in a church where the pastor often wore casual clothing and open-toed sandals.

    It always surprises me to hear people criticize casual clothing in church when Jesus likely wore casual clothing and open-toed sandals. Some preachers feel more comfortable in a suit and tie, and that’s fine. Others can preach in jeans and a t-shirt, and that is fine too. As long as the true Gospel is given out and folks are becoming born again believers, there should be no strife or contention over dress, music, or decor.

    And just for clarity, I want to stress to all who are reading your post that you did not excuse, or advocate for, immodest apparel. Sometimes those of us in conservative churches conflate “immodest” with “modern,” and they are not automatically the same thing. Christians can dress fashionably and modestly at the same time.

    May God continue to bless you in your ministry, and I look forward to your next visit to Liberty Baptist Church!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Yes Jesse!

      Great comment. I would first say that God cares deeply about what is happening in the heart of an individual and very little about what that individual is wearing to church. While man (of course) will focus on the outward, God is focused on the inward. He is all about transforming us from the inside out (Romans 12:2) not conforming is from the outside in. Once a person had been saved and is now filled with His Holy Spirit there will be an immediate justification that leads to a slow sanctification. (For some of us it happens slower than for others. 🙂). So then, eventually the Holy Spirit will guide the Christian to dress in precisely what the Holy Spirit wants them to wear – not only to church but in every place they go throughout the week. Now, the Holy Spirit will never contradict the Holy Scriptures – so we must point the Christian to the specific passages it does speak of dress. This would allow us to teach the principles of modesty (both to avoid sensuality and unnecessarily drawing attention to ourselves). Since the Bible is written for every generation and for every culture around the world, it brilliantly avoids discussing certain styles of clothing. Otherwise it would be twice as big and mostly about fashion. The only passage that specifically deals with church attire actually seems to teach that we are to be careful of dressing up too much for church. Why? In doing so we are taking the attention away from God and putting it back on man.
      1 Timothy 2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

      This passage would seem to indicate that overly dressing up for church might be wrong.

  • Reply
    Adam Wood
    September 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Brother Teis,
    I heartily concur with you that conforming to the world most certainly includes mimicking the carnality and lusts that are ubiquitous in the world, and those things are so dreadfully often overlooked and avoided in favor of the low-hanging fruit of the externals, much to the shame of IBs like us.
    However, brother, I believe in your article you have neglected to mention other ways we Christians conform to the world, in what appears to be an effort to limit the definition of “worldliness” to simply the imitation of the world’s carnality. And at times in your article, you seem to impugn the motives of those who holds higher “standards,” if only by implication. Just as worldliness is not inclusive of just outward appearances, so it is not inclusive of only carnality. No scripture limits God’s exhortation in Romans 12:2 to simply the things you describe in your article. It is to be honestly applied to all of life. It seems you present a false choice. The real question we must all honestly and bravely ask ourselves is “how am I going to actually apply the truth in Romans 12:2 to my music, standards, philosophy, entertainment, etc., as well?” The answer might bother us and require of us uncomfortable decisions.
    In the future, if God is willing, I would like to express both my agreement and disagreement with your points in writing. Until then, if there is a “then,” God bless your service to our Lord.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Adam! Thank you for the comment. I probably didn’t explain myself enough in the actual blog post. I appreciate the opportunity to bring more clarity.
      Worldliness is the act of acting like the men of this world. Those who have not been redeemed. Those who are still fleshly and carnal – not born again of the Spirit.
      This is not what I believe to be the entire extent of worldliness but certainly an aspect of worldliness. For a fully explanation of worldliness I pointed to a book by CJ Mahaney entitled WORLDLINESS.

      My attempt was not to limit the definition of worldliness as used in our churches but to broaden it. To make it more biblical rather than subjective. In the past when most of us hear he term “worldly church” certain images come to mind. I propose that those images are there because they have been developed and planted by men and do not come from the Scripture. The point being – we don’t have to be subjective when understanding the term worldliness when it is clearly defined in the Scriptures.

      I appreciate the dialogue my friend and I hope this helps.

      • Reply
        Danny Foss
        September 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm

        Josh, you neglected in your article and this comment to warn people about the book you suggested that it comes from out-and-out Calvinists, the author being a Calvinist church planter, and then the forward being by the very much so Calvinist John Piper. Question (a civil one, ok!), are you for Calvinism? If so, then why continue claiming Baptist to your name? Truly, to be a Biblical Baptist is to be anti-Calvinism. They are by definition mutually exclusive. Just the fact that Baptists claim and propagate the true Bible doctrine of individual soul liberty, or, freedom of choice, that makes a Baptist a non-Calvinist since Calvinists stupidly reject that. Remember, Calvin and his followers persecuted Baptists. Calvinism is a poisonous doctrine. Do you habitually reference/appeal to Calvinist material? For sake of careful godly pastoring you ought to at least preface it by warning about that. Better yet, no Calvinist material should be referenced!

        • Reply
          Josh Teis
          September 3, 2018 at 9:01 pm

          Mr. Foss,
          I do not consider myself to be reformed in my theology. I am not a Calvinist. However, there are Baptist Ministers who are. I respect these men and, though we disagree on the doctrine of election, I have learned from. Men like Charles Spurgeon. I will continue to quote men like this. Thank You.

          • Jeremy Rands
            September 4, 2018 at 2:10 am

            Josh, please stop replying to Danny Foss. It is obvious he is looking to simply be contentious. He is attempting to engage you in a public argument. He doesn’t know you or your heart and refuses to read anything you write with a right spirit. He has his mind stubbornly made up. His attempt to publicly humiliate you speaks into his spirit not yours. I appreciate your biblically solid doctrinal stand on the Word of God.

          • Danny Foss
            September 4, 2018 at 7:36 am

            Josh – good! I call on you in as strong of a way as possible to never go down the heretical route of Calvinism. Thank you for your answer. I do caution you though that it is one thing to read from Calvinists in private and spit out the bones, but when recommending the safest thing is to give a disclaimer.
            Jeremy – I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I am not looking to be contentious. I am following 1 Thes. 5:21, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” As I said earlier, “Truth never fears a challenge.” See also Ps. 119:128, Acts 17:11, Eph. 5:10, Phil. 1:10, Heb. 10:23, and 1 John 4:1. If messages like these are given in a public forum then you’re going to have to expect negative as well as positive feedback. If you don’t desire that at all then by all means shut down the comments section. Please, Jeremy, give me the benefit of the doubt (Phil. 2:3) instead of jumping to conclusions (Mt. 7:1) as you did here about me and my motives in addressing these things. This intimidation and the false accusations from you about me are uncharitable and put you rather in the camp of Job’s friends who thought they knew Job’s problems, but they obviously didn’t.

  • Reply
    Tim Bunch
    September 3, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    “The greatest problem in redefining worldliness to something as shallow as current fashions, current music, and current decorating styles is that we entirely miss the dangers of true worldliness.”
    Oh my brother – no truer words have been spoken! For YEARS I have struggled with equating I Samuel 16:7 (“…man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”) with how so many people define holiness, purity, worldliness, etc. On the one hand we protect OUR Churches because we know our peoples ‘hearts’ – yet COMPLETELY fail to allow the same generosity towards others. David – despite his failures – was a Man after God’s Own Heart, and would to God I might be such also. Thanks bro. (No man hug tho! 😉 )

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 3, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Ha! Thanks man. I’m thankful to have been introduced to you so many years ago. Nice to have a friend that is 10,000 miles away – but when we do get to hang out – pick up just like we left off.

  • Reply
    Rebekah Tastet
    September 4, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Great article – I enjoyed it very much!

  • Reply
    Russell Bouydston
    September 5, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    I think you probably get a feeling of how the apostle Paul felt when he was dealing with Jewish persons who felt that Gentile christians do certain things in order to obtain righteousness. I like the fact that you emphasize “holiness” in this blog. I recently read an article about what “liberal” meant. Merriem-Webster says it is one who is generous; one who is broad minded amonst other things. I strive to be generous with the gospel and I try to keep an open mind as I know that God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. I also know I have been wrong in the past. So if people call me a liberal christian, I am happy to wear that badge. The churches of the 1970’s were criticized by the churches of 1950. Numerous organizations have been criticized for their method of spreading the Gospel (Gideons, Campus Crusade, Jews for Jesus, Bikers for Christ, and many more) even Billy Graham was criticized for his method. What is worldly to me? Potlucks, Bbq’s, prizes, or any other incentives to reward christian people to attend services. That is me talking though. Christians “ought” to come to church. Unbelievers might need some incentive but if christians were holy and loved one another like we are commanded (and likewise judged by the world), the incentive would be to find out why these Christians loved everyone so much.

    All glory to Christ Alone

  • Reply
    Chris Chavez
    September 5, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I responded to Josh with concerns in an article called “True Worldliness.” Read it at https://www.docdroid.net/2FOoAzV. (It’s too much to give in these comments).

    Josh read it, and we also enjoyed an hour phone call over my concerns. Thanks for considering my article, Josh.

    • Reply
      Josh Teis
      September 6, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      My friend Chris Chavez wrote this very good response to my original article. And it deserves to be read. It challenged my perspective and made me think more deeply about the issues at hand. Though we would both agree to disagree on a few thoughts here – I think we both agree that the conversation needs to be heard from all angles.

  • Reply
    Greg David
    September 6, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Josh, I don’t know you personally but I so appreciate your heart and desire to have open dialogue on these issues. Nothing is worse than a man with his mind made up, unwilling to change and unwilling to listen. Just a thought I had from reading the article and replies underneath – This is not meant to be a sweeping generalization, but I have noticed through my travels, that those who focus more on the outward preferences seem to have more internal issues that eventually work their way out. I am, and my church is, very conservative in almost every way, but I always want that to come from a heart that loves the Lord and desires to please Him, and not from a hard stand turning preferences into doctrine.

  • Reply
    Andrew Hall
    September 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Wow this definitely opened my eyes to this whole subject definitely a great read and I’ve never looked at it like this before

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