Let's see how trying to remain culturally relevant is going in megachurch land:
Yikes! Is this what we call a church service now??
That's Oklahoma's Transformation Church, pastored by popular Christian author Mike Todd, and that's how they celebrated the sovereignty of Christ in conquering the grave.
If you don't know about Mike Todd, here's a primer:
Pastor Michael Todd leads Transformation Church (TC.) He is known for crowd surfing during his church's worship service and spending a lot of money. In the last two years, he's given away $3,500,000 in houses, cash, and cars, spent $65,000 to buy 168 pairs of shoes, gave $600,000 in "reparations," and purchased $66,000,000 in real estate.
He's also known for preaching some good old-fashioned Modalism, giving the world perhaps the grossest illustration in church after he snorted and then hocked a loogie full of spit and snot into his hand and rubbed it in another man's face
I can hear what the defenders are saying now: "These musical numbers are representing actual demons. It's not supposed to be part of worship. This is helping people see this is bad!"
Here's the timestamped full performance if you want longer context:
The entire skit is about a young princess (the Church) falling prey to demons and their dragon lord (Satan), so a prince (Jesus) is sent to save her but ends up dying, so the various demons (personified as pride, greed, lust, etc.) end up celebrating. The demons end up doing multiple numbers on stage for over 20 minutes. Then of course, Jesus bursts off the cross and ends up winning as fog lights and lasers surround him.
A lot of people would defend this. It's so powerful, they say! It will reach so many people! Don't you like stories?
Let me push that aside for a moment.
We like to flip the script these days. Instead of running from anything that remotely might be unbiblical in our worship, we see how close to the line of ungodliness we can get before God slaps us on the hand.
Mike Todd has this to say about this play, which was created in 2015 but got the big budget treatment in 2023:
Todd [explained] that they purposefully decided to go "right to the edge" and do everything "short of sin" in order to reach people.
Everything "short of sin"? That's the opposite of what the Bible says (Romans 6).
I'll let you weigh this "church" performance against the Bible's instructions on worship, the gathering of the saints, and holiness and see if it matches how one should imitate Christ... or if it more closely mirrors passages like this, warning the church about the consequences of following the world and false teachers:
"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:19-23
Do elaborate performances like this sanctify the church and call people to repentance? Is this what a gathering of the church should look like? Are we blending art and theater into worship and the pulpit in ways that distract from Christ?
It's fun to dress up like caricatures of Satan, but are you actually leading people out of his domain, or are you merely calling them into a glamorous-but-empty American Christianity that mirrors the world?
The Apostle Peter says that those who lead the church astray "will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." What a terrifying thought.