What’s Your Hurry?

I love to watch reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show.” I own DVDs of the first five seasons. They were the ones in black and white. Once the show went color in seasons six through eight it lost not only Don Knotts who played Barney Fife but also lost some good writing as well- at least in my opinion.

One of my favorite episodes takes place on a Sunday. It shows Mayberry in worship listening to a guest preacher, Dr. Breen, preach a sermon entitled “What’s Your Hurry?” There are a number of classic moments of sleep and boredom taking hold during the sermon only to have the congregation collectively jump when Dr. Breen shouts his thesis, “What’s your hurry?”

This is Mayberry at its best- and its worst. How so? It’s at its best in the comic talents of Gomer, Barney, and Andy. It’s at its worst in the preaching. Dr. Breen’s “sermon” has no gospel. It is pure moralism and weak at that. Dr. Russell Moore, in his blog post entitled Is Christianity Dying? makes the point that “Mayberry leads to hell just as surely as Gomorrah does.” I encourage you to read the entire thing HERE. It’s really good. Dr. Moore, is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is responding to the recent polling data that shows the increasing secularization of our culture. His Mayberry reference reminds us that empty Christianity leads to the same end as rank paganism.

At first glance, the polling data that occasioned Moore’s article is a disturbing trend. There has been a dramatic drop in those who identify as Christians in our nation. Some are saying this shows the sure decline of Christianity. Dr. Moore is quick to say that what is dying is not Christianity but nominal Christianity. The number of evangelicals has remained strong. Cultural Christianity, even here in the BibleBelt, is what is fading into the sunset.

Two quick observations: One, we need to be in prayer and strategic thinking how we as the church can more effectively proclaim the good news in our secular society. We can no longer assume people agree on the basics.   How can we effectively proclaim this good news and see outreach as the corporate endeavor it needs to be? What are we not doing? What should we be doing?   I’m convinced we don’t need more gimmicks or programs but hearts for people and fervent prayer for the outpouring of God’s Spirit and for wisdom and boldness.

Second, we need to be equipping and grounding our children in sound doctrine. I know I’m sounding like a broken record these days. I would love to see us offer something for our kids on Wednesday nights this fall that will again emphasize the catechism and sound Biblical instruction. Our School of Discipleship is great but let’s do more! The better our kids are grounded the more prepared they will be to stand firm and be salt and light. What’s stopped us from offering something like this this past year is simple manpower (and womanpower). We can’t keep asking the same people over and over to step up. We need “fresh legs” so to speak. Want to help? Let me or Randy know.

I love Mayberry but Dr. Moore is right. Mayberry with its empty gospel is no gospel at all. May God use HLPC to proclaim effectively the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ