In Steve Skojec's article which Mitchell linked to last Friday, Skojec writes that if people wanted fellowship, they could head over to the “megachurches” that are rampant in today's world. Have people seen the type of services they have in such “megachurches” or even “gigachurches,” as some have been called because of their gargantual size.
The modern megachurch has virtually become a chain-store type of gospel, if any gospel is taught – most often not taught, as instead it has become a self-help centre, engaged often in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a noted heretical movement of the 21st century. Many of these “branches” do not even have a minister in control, and instead have viewers watching the minister's “quickie” sermon (designed to ensure a service does not last more than one hour) on a video, and in some cases popular culture dominates the sermons. One well-known Southern Baptist church here (which in 1956 began a mission on the other side of town that became the church that welcomed a young immigrant family from Taiwan to the area – that church collapsed in 2001 and was sold to a Oneness Pentecostal – apostay alert in denying the Trinity – church run by our city's newly elected mayor) hung billboards outside the main highway with signs promoting a popular culture-based sermon series, which we've mentioned in Our Word many times is the problem with churches today.
Many of these places are located in areas where you would not imagine would be a house of God. The local megachurch is branched in a former grocery store building, and walking into the church's sanctuary, complete with pillars, it resembles a rock concert hall, with a huge stage for the rock band and an intimate theatre-type surrounding for those who attend. Over in the big city just 80km away from the home is a branch of a notorious heretic with his “church beamed via satellite where each branch has its own rock band that plays the same song list in each congregation, and just beams from the flagship the sermon – in essence, a take on the nickname for a brand-new newspaper 31 years ago started by Al Neuharth that has become a well-known publication. These Life Enhancement Centres are often located in former department stores, convention halls, or other large building but not in houses of worship. They play the same service 15 times a week across the state with each building featuring its own local band and small staff, but what is being taught? And what about ministers helping those in need when there are thousands in that place every weekend? They aren't there to help those in need, such as the times I've had to talk with clergy one-on-one during family crises.
Instead of the didactic sacred song of centuries ago that taught God's Word, such as the sacred song that the Pope Emeritus has praised, and too many writers that I've read, especially with my experience over the years with church musicians and singers, the listener is drowned with loud 100dB rock music featuring material from the major church music publishers of today – Sony ATV Songs, Universal Music, Warner Music Group, Oregon Catholic Press, or GIA Publications (yes, Oregon Catholic Press and GIA Publications are both in many Protestant order sheets today), that drill attendees into a trance. Sometimes, those in attendance do not even learn the blasphemous nature of the songs being played in the megachurch services (see Sunday's service at one such venue with a song that I denounced and led to a flame war by those in church who supported the song without understand its questionable lyrics).
These entertainment-driven life enhancement centres are destroying Protestantism on one side, as are heretics pushing false teachings on the other side, which the local Anglican minister wrote a few months ago how the great Anglican split took place in the 20th into the 21st centuries (our part of South Carolina is in the Diocese of South Carolina, an independent Anglican congregation that split from The Episcopal Church). What had me wondering how ignorant mainliners were came during an interview I had with some practicing members of an Eastern New Age religion -- many had been Episcopalians, lost because of the heretical teachings there.
What Pope Francis has seemingly done to Catholics is possibly lean the Catholic Church towards the megachuch philosophy we're seeing in the Protestant world from false teachers such as Osteen, Hybels, and Noble. If he is, he's dangerously close to being heretic. ◙