Imagine a church service where people gather on a Sunday, sing uplifting songs together, listen to someone up on stage speak, and learn about the needs of others in the congregation so that those needs can be met. Sounds like a normal church experience, right? Except what if it did not include God, the Bible, or any doctrine inspired by a higher authority?
Christian creationist and Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham writes about this growing trend of "churches" — dubbed Sunday Assemblies — in his AiG blog. As Ken describes them, these "godless churches" meet once a month and create a community of people who don't want anything to do with God or religion.
He quotes one Sunday Assembly leader who says, “We like to say we ripped off the best stuff of church, but we do it without the religious dogma. We will not tell you what to believe and what book to get your rules from. You are free to make your own decisions.”
Ken feels that these assemblies have "ripped off the best stuff of church" just like gay marriage tries to rip off of biblical marriage. He also feels like the members of these assemblies have to juggle a mass of contradictions as they promote particular Christian morals — like caring one for another — but ascribe to no doctrine or greater power that tells them why they should be doing that.
Michigan Live describes the growing assemblies in the state, saying "At the monthly meetings, there's a welcome, a lecture that can relate to life's moments, good and bad, and music to speak to the soul. Best wishes for healing are sent to those in need and there's a plea to help people who could use an extra hand with meals, daily tasks or transportation."
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary professor Mike Wittmer comments, "I can see why people would agree with what they are hearing because a lot of us are lonely and seeking something larger. The question is, what do they believe in? They might be catching the wave of a culture, but what does it mean in the end? To me, they're leaving out the most important part."
Why do you think the secular world still wants a church experience? Do you think this movement will make it easier or harder to invite them to Bible-believing churches?