Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thoughts on church

Regarding what some people believe is wrong with the Christian Church, here are a few thoughts I have had or things I have observed.

We have gotten too into the show, the emotional intensity, the what can church do for me mindset. We have forgotten what Lordship means, the importance of real exegetical teaching, and the real reason we should be there, to worship.

I believe we are all sinners. Those of us who are truly saved, because of our changed hearts, will be less likely to sin, but I do not believe it ever goes away in totality. Now then, what is the impact of this? Those who are in church leadership positions are not exempt from the above. So, when a church leader screws up, what are the consequences? At the minimum, he or she will be less credible, less likely to be followed. Leaders should be and often are held to a higher standard according to 1st Timothy, but they are not perfect. We are all ambassadors for Him; I am reminded of a DC Talk song where it talks in an opening monologue about us affirming our faith with our lips but denying it with our lifestyle.

There is also another trend that is occurring now that is not new; people are moving in an attempt to return to what they perceive as the 1st century church. Some who are opposed to organizational structure, in churches or otherwise, are drawn to this movement by this perceived lack of organization. There are risks however, to me these exist primarily in the realm of lack of accountability. Even if there are no pastors in this methodology, leaders will still emerge, they always do. What is to prevent these leaders from teaching false doctrines, as we see so often mentioned in New Testament letters. For me, the risk of a cult type group emerging is worth mentioning. Additionally, to go too far down this road is to risk discrediting the Biblical mentions of the gifts of shepherding and teaching.

Some of us see verses about breaking bread house to house and think that was their worship, without noticing or thinking about the Hebrews 10 and Colossians 3 ordered assemblies in synagogues. We are told to assemble, to teach, to admonish, to sing, and to encourage one another, among other things. Are we doing that? We need to seriously ask what our assemblies are about. If the experienced believers amongst us are going to help the milk drinkers become meat eaters, we really need to look at that. A new believer needs different teaching than an experienced believer.  This can happen in a couple different ways.  The experienced believer, if they have the teaching gift, can and should teach the new believer.

Regarding our roles in church, I really believe a change of mindset is necessary.  We cannot continue to act in a way that is self-serving as opposed to focused on God.  We in the USA are far too comfortable with church hopping, treating it like a consumer experience.  I don't think people should leave a church for many reasons; perhaps the most valid is preaching that is not Biblically correct.  Aside from that, if a church needs work, those with the proper gifts in the congregation should be stepping up to have at it.

Atheism is also an area where those that have that religious belief are more vocal than before. If you just stopped in disbelief at the apparent contradiction in the previous sentence, read on please. I would argue that, although atheism is by definition lack of belief in a God, it is a religion. There is a something from nothing creation story that requires much more faith than intelligent design.  The idea of entropy, which is an order becomes disorder line of thinking, is counter to those who believe in biological evolution.

I will stop there to limit length for now.