Cafe ‘Emerging’ Church

Dialogue Cafe Churches
Dialogue Cafe Churches

The ‘Café Church’ has been around for a couple of decades now and probably longer. We remember in New Zealand that there were a number of prominent churches converting a part of the church or a hall to a café. And the process is still going on today with some churches lagging behind but still wanting to push this model.

So what is wrong with this form of fellowship? Aren’t they enjoying themselves, have a cuppa and talking about the “Love of Christ”.

The question we have at Righteousness is Love Ministries is does God promote this type of culture?

We were doing some research on this topic and found this statement on Wikipedia, though we don’t like using Wiki as a source for evidence but it does sum up the Church café model quite clearly:

The Cafe Church, a Christian church model that can be associated with alternative worship and the emerging church movements, seeks to find new forms and approaches to existing as a church in the 21st century. These churches are often focused on relationship aspects of Christian fellowship and outreach to their local community, and use the modern gathering place, a café, in their ministry. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafe_church

It is interesting that this author has linked this model of outreach to the emerging church, which makes sense as it is in line with the philosophy of changing church to suit the current culture.

Preaching in a Cafe Church
Preaching in a Cafe Church

Emergent or emerging Church, though it is a very deep subject and one for another post, has its roots in spiritual formation and Spiritualism. Learn more about spiritual formation here.  In fact they have their philosophy based on post modernism – a thinking where there are no absolutes and that an individual can decide what is right and what is wrong – you see, it is all relative. This of course is contrary to the Bible where it proclaims that Scripture is an absolute and given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16.

The following Audio is a great interview with the author of ‘The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity’ by Bob DeWaay.

[audio:http://www.righteousnessislove.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The-Emergent-Church-Undefining-Christianity.mp3]

Health Aspect

No matter what you call it, a Café Church is always associated with coffee. The word café in itself is associated with a small restaurant where you can get simple meals and drinks (such as coffee), Miriam Dictionary. Even if the Café Church does not serve coffee there is still an appearance of having coffee and/or as if drinking coffee were alright and acceptable.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil

Cafe-Church
Good and Evil?

So why is drinking coffee so wrong? Isn’t there plenty of evidence that show that coffee is good for you? First we would like to say that there are evidence of benefits, scientists have shown that coffee is a source of antioxidants – essential molecules that prevents the oxidation of healthy cells which are vital to our lives. When we look at any report that promotes a particular item we must ask ourselves two questions: Are there any risks or negative aspects for that item that outweigh benefits? And are there any other items that can provide the same amount or more benefits without risks?

Coffee main ingredient is caffeine and caffeine is what the masses think they want in the morning. Caffeine is also a drug and like all drugs it triggers withdrawal symptoms after a stint of not having it. But there are also very interesting physical attributes how your body reacts to  caffeine and it isn’t just the increased heartbeat. We know that caffeine can impact the blood and vital oxygen flow to the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for decision making and moral discernment. When the frontal lobe has been impaired by such a way there tends to be an impairment of morality. Social skills, reasoning and foresight are compromised. There is also an inability to think abstractly (dealing with proverbs) and the loss of empathy. The following study shows the effects of caffeine as well as nicotine on the blood flow in the brain:

SPECT Scan - Caffeine and Nicotine
SPECT Scan – Caffeine and Nicotine
SPECT Scan - Normal
SPECT Scan – Normal

The brain of this heavy caffeine and cigarette user looks in an even worse state than the drug users and heavy drinkers. Caffeine and cigarettes are stimulants in the short term, but in the long term they can narrow the blood vessels in your brain. This reduces brain activity, especially in the vital pre-frontal cortex and temporal lobes. The two large black holes at the top of the brain are in the prefrontal cortex – just under the forehead – which is the brain’s boardroom. This is where you learn from your mistakes; damage here makes you vulnerable to depression. The distorted temporal lobes (the large gaps in the middle) are linked to poor memory. This patient, a company chief executive, had complained of lack of energy and trouble concentrating. www.dailymail.co.uk.

If you want to have the benefits of antioxidants in coffee without having caffeine, we should look at other sources. Unfortunately, caffeine free coffee still has 3% of caffeine left in it and most of the time the caffeine is removed by a chemical process. Fruit and berries, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains are the highest food sources of antioxidants as well as having vital nutrients for brain health. www.naturalnews.com. If you really want the taste of Coffee and without the caffeine, we recommend Chicory, Barley cup or Dandelion root, all have a similar taste to coffee but no chemicals or caffeine and are beneficial to health.

So why are Christian churches promoting a lifestyle that is clearly associated with a ‘brain altering’ substance, especially when the brain is one of the most important parts of your body and one that God is waiting for His name (character) to be sealed in.

Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

Most churches adopt this postmodern form of evangelism for many reasons. One is that they are worried about the dwindling numbers of church goers and they often seek outside help for growing. They are no longer happy with the way things that have been done in the past and are reaching out with good intentions i.e. seeking the lost, in a new and different way. They especially seek relationships and an experiential/emotional faith. But is this working for the churches? Are these churches growing? Or is this a continuing slow demise of ‘Popular Christianity’? Even as we write this article we hear about churches around the world who are realising the failure of the café church model and have decided to close up their café to go back to fundamental principles of the Bible. Even Secular news have understood that the “Popular” Christian church are in a decline and have pointed that this is due to the ‘leniency’ towards commandment keeping. RT New and statistics points out, that in England, a prominent Protestant nation, this void is being filled by the converts to the Muslim faith which promotes strong adherence to principles, biblical or not.

Faith Change: Islam rapidly grows as Christianity declines in UK

If we look at the Bible and learn from God’s people how they acted to grow their nation, it is clear that every time they turned away from the will of God they got into trouble. They lost many battles and eventually lost their place of worship – Jerusalem – to the Babylonians, despite God’s call:

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Have the Christian churches turned away from God? Are we losing battles that weren’t ours to begin with, 2 Chronicles 20:15? Maybe it would be wise to return to the God of the Bible and humble ourselves and seek His will and turn from the ways that will only attract carnally-minded men.

Recommend Purchase

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Resources:

Spiritual Formation and the Emergent Church – Investigation

Music and the Emerging Church