This is the third and final part to some trends that I have observed.
There is a tendency to trivialize.
A while ago, someone informed me with raised eyebrows that a certain well-known preacher had traveled to a meeting in blue jeans. I do not typically travel to the meetings where I preach in blue jeans (I have done so on occasions, so if you wish to cancel your subscription at this point, please feel free to do so. When flying the red-eye, I want to dress as comfortably as possible without being a bad testimony.) Others have felt it necessary to let me know that a particular preacher has grown a goatee. Well, the fact is, I always wear a coat and tie when I preach. I always wear a coat and tie when I go out soulwinning and visiting the hospitals. I almost always wear a coat and tie when I come to work in my study. I do not now, nor have I ever had a goatee. I have, on a couple of occasions, started to grow a mustache while on vacation, due to the urging of my wife and daughters. I have always shaved it before I came back home. I do not however, believe that a person has denied the faith, apostatized, compromised or become a bad testimony should he choose to grow facial hair. If one of my young brethren wishes to sprout a beard or mustache while preaching from and winning souls with their King James Bible, I will not find it a matter worthy of note or conversation.
There is a tendency to rationalize.
If contemporary music increases our crowds, shouldn’t we use it? If the lowering of our standards increase the number of people available to serve, shouldn’t we lower them? If a “kinder, gentler” approach in preaching attracts more people, shouldn’t we put a mute on the trumpet and be careful not to lift our voices quite so high? I believe in being practical. If it is more convenient for our people to attend a service at 6:00 Sunday night than 7:00, I am happy by all means to go to the earlier time. No Scriptural issue is involved. I would have church at 4:00 in the morning if I thought it would increase our crowds. However, all my practicality must be bounded by the principles of the Word of God. Though people find it possible to explain away virtually everything they do, there is never an excuse for disobeying the Word of God, no matter how much success it may seem to bring in the short term.