Thumbs up or Thumbs down. Those were their call letters. Or should I better say, their call sign, as Siskel and Ebert reviewed the current movies playing in theaters on their TV show "At the Movies".
If you thought Siskel and Ebert were only confined to the movies, you thought wrong. It seems today there is another show running that ought to be named "At the Church". But who are the hosts? Could be anyone. It could even be you. These are the Siskels and Eberts who critique the church. They have a knack for finding those things that bug them and annoy them. The bugs. The nuisances. Whether it's the idiosyncrasies of someone or the format of the worship service. If you listen carefully, you can hear their complaints.
"Nobody greeted me. They were not very friendly."
"Why don't they have a children's program?"
"The pastor didn't give me what my itching ears wanted to hear. He actually preached the Bible."
Don't be mistaken. This is nothing short of consumer Christianity. Since when are we to be critics of the Bride of Christ, His Church? Do not misunderstand me. Being critical with a consumer mentality is distinctly different from using discernment to rightly judge whether a church is right for me or not. You ought to be asking the following.
But Siskels and Eberts are found not only amongst those looking for a church, but also amongst those already part of a church. They know that the Bible says, "Do all things without complaining"(Philippians 2:14). But somehow it doesn't apply to the Bride of Christ. It's open season for the church.
Do you know someone like that? Could that someone even be you? Rather than approaching the elders to address in private one of your concerns, do you tend to complain to others on your way out of the service? And are they legitimate concerns because of some doctrinal error or are they simply personal preferences?
Why don't they do it this way?
How come the temperature is never right?
Why does the leadership not incorporate this aspect in the ministry?
But you may be saying to yourself, "I don't verbally complain to anyone." My question to you then is, Do you complain within your thoughts but just don't say anything? Do you leave the worship service with an encouraged heart or a grumbling spirit? You see, it's a matter of attitude. It's this kind of attitude that's detrimental not only to your own spiritual well-being, but also to the health of the church. A critical spirit is like sulfuric acid that eats away at everything it touches.
And the worst part of Siskels and Eberts in the church is that they spend so much time and energy critiquing and complaining, that they don't contribute to the Body. They are solely consumers. Are you a spectator, sitting in the stands and standing on the sidelines looking for something to complain about? Or are you actively involved in serving?
Siskel and Ebert. Thumbs up or thumbs down. Leave that for the movies. Do not be the one who brings it into the church!
Hariton Deligiannides is the pastor of Mendon Communiy Church. Pastor Hariton proclaims the truth of Scripture in order to help people come to a knowledge of the truth, namely that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, and to then get grounded and rooted in the deep truths of Scripture.