Writer Rick Kelley
Writer Rick Kelley

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (BNc) — Hard rock musician cum preacher Rick Kelley hit back hard today, Feb. 12, after critics suggested that churches of Christ need to understand this generation better and jettison the pattern theology of the 19th century.

In a lengthy article on his blog, Rick, who works with the Prestonsburg congregation, gave four reasons for the decline among the churches — if such a decline can be proven, he said: the new hermeneutics, a worldly church, a misunderstanding of who the church is, and a moral free-fall in society since the 1960s.

With that, he placed much of the blame for the church’s decline squarely on the doorstep of progressives.

As a former hard-rock musician who was a part of the worldly culture, Rick then went on to identify the effect upon the church of catering to this generation: loss of the church’s distinctiveness, sacrifice of the gospel’s dignity, and sacrifice of Christ’s dignity.

Well into his introduction, Rick wrote:

Say some, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. Our rigid adherence to doctrine and “pattern theology” is repulsing the generations we now seek to convert. “Everyone is sick” of it, we are told.

“What we need is insight of this generation’s way of thinking.” “This will help us understand why we aren’t converting them, or keeping them.” As if it were our responsibility to please hearers!

Jesus spoke of the futility of trying to accommodate His message to a fickle generation, and said the problem is that they were pretentious children (cf. Lk. 7:31-35).

Read the whole article at this link.



  1. I’ll tell you what I’m sick of: men-pleaser change agents who have nothing good to say about the “backwards, ineffective, etc.” church of the past which reached out to them (apparently quite effectively) and saved THEIR ungrateful souls!

  2. Paul tells us plainly what our mission is; that it is not to cater to the thinking and desires of our secular society but rather to “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. (2 Cor. 10:1-5 ASV)
    J. Phillips

  3. Those change agents don’t like our religion, but they sure do like our real estate. In many instances, they have stolen what our sweat and toil has provided.

  4. Patterns come from God and are to be obeyed in all generations. We do not serve the god of this culture but the God of all time. He who marries the spirit of an age soon finds himself to be a widow. Progressives are losing their children to false religion at twice the rate of the mainstream. They lost their kids because they compromised and nothing to offer. A religion without a cross or a Bible has little strength.

  5. I will take a unpopular step and I have worshipped in several congregations. When was the last time you listened to a bsermon on Church Discipline? Have you heard of one in your life time. This is a commandment that most of us are ashamed of we can not speak of it and do not understand fully and have decided we serve a God like grandma rather than the living God. We preach God is love but to love someone is to chastize with God’s word and understanding, yes there are none without sin so who is to do this horrible thing? We cannot judge them according to mens judgement but to know them by the fruit that Jesus Christ has already judged and said he who willfully sins, shall not enter the Kingdom. God says this is love to try and stop a brother or sister from falling into the judgement of the living God. Let us practice God’s Love and not grandma’s. Let us join in Prayer and fasting for a revival in the Church and may God forgive the Church as we repent and seek his face in all things.

  6. Many thoughtful words. I appreciate being made to think. A possible parallel might be the “observation” by the teenagers of this generation that we must be a church without “walls” – the many and varied “walls” come in all shapes and sizes… emotional, physical, mystical, psychological, spiritual, etc. God knows those who are His – true – yet, we seem to think we know so much… why? Be like Jesus – as much as is within us – be like Jesus!