Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Will the TRUE Church stand up......................!!!

Let me ask you a question that requires a short answer: How do you gage the health of the church today? (I mean am I a radical for asking this question?)

The emerging church is defined in wikipedia as participants who seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a "postmodern" society. Proponents of this movement call it a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature, its vast range of standpoints and its commitment to dialogue. In other words, the "decentralization" of the church is going against all the traditions of the established.....really a non-traditional church that does not want to be held down by too many rules or "ways" of doing things.

Some Christian scholars, such as D. A. Carson, have characterized the emerging church movement as primarily a movement of protest in which participants are reacting against their more conservative heritage. These critics generally claim that emergent books and blogs are more preoccupied with this protest than they are with any genuinely constructive agenda.

On the other hand, the conservative evangelical church in most cases is the typical Southern Baptist Church that has been established for well over 20 years that has on average 80 in attendance. Some are called "fundamental", some are just "conservative", and some "moderate". Some don't even know who they are...they havent decided. The last 30-40 years as we have turned inward focusing on ourselves and our bank accounts and buildings instead of following God's plan, isnt it incredible that we have LOST OUR IDENTITY.

Come on, churches are dying...I believe 4 a day. Watered down sermons, lack of true biblical teaching, a non existant prayer ministry, no deep meaningful fellowship, programs, programs, faithfulness equals attendance, we have the nicest buildings, we must have $100,000 in our bank accounts, pastors who run the church like a business, etc.

The Emerging Church has become popular because you can attend there and not truly know what you believe in but you are truly part of something positive and popular. In alot of cases, the traditional conservative church has been steeped in our own traditions and we have been left behind...but will the TRUE church stand up............TO BE CONTINUED!! Sleepy Disciple


Anonymous said...

I like your lead question.

Here's one for you - how can we have lost our identity if we never found it in the first place?

I say that because those two questions go together. I could be WAY off base, but the more I study and go beyond the pablum delivered in my early years as a believer for Sunday School, the more I want to know. But I find the number of church-going folk who actually delve into studying the Word of God, so that when someone brings something that's 'just a little' off we can recognize it, is small.

So for your first question (and are you referring to 'the Church' or a local body 'church' here?) you gauge it by how visible they are reaching out in brotherly love to impact their immediate circle EVERY DAY, reaching out to their extended circle AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE, and reaching out to the world as the opportunity arises.
That means are we reaching out to our community - which I call this area of our county my community. Are we impacting our county? Trying to make things better and holding our elected officials accountable to be good stewards? To our state - again - are we holding them accountable and calling on them to do what's right?
Where there's a need in our part of the county - are we reaching out? Are we as a church praying for the pastors in our churches? Not just my pastor, but the others too? Are we working together to forward God's love, worship, and works?
Are they meeting to pray together?
Are they meeting to study together?
Are they holding each other accountable to the word?

Ok. I'm stepping off my soapbox.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the brain food. As concerns your question, I agree that this is a question which should be a primary question of believers, for as simple a reason as that the church is the bride of Christ. I think however our tools of evaluation need to either be sharpened, or replaced altogether. Unfortunately, we have been duped into thinking that we (as good southern/texas baptists) can statistically measure the health of a community of believers. The emergent church has realized the need for this reevaluation. They have rejected the template, and unfortunately have allowed "template" rejection, and relativistic metanarratives to be the foundation of their church movement. It seems that the postmodern church has taken about the task of measuring their health by how much they avoid being like "those guys." Whereas I agree that there needs to be a change of foci as concerns the health of the church I find myself agreeing with the departure of the postmoderns, and yet not able to embrace their abandonment of concrete biblical doctrine. Now here is where I think the answer is...(as the sleepy disciple has iterated in other blogs). The answer to the health of a (the) church is in the living out of solid biblical doctrines. Unfortunately many have mistaken denominational traditions, rambling moral codes, and dogmatic sacred cows for solid biblical doctrine. This is why I believe that the postmodern generation has not been able to cope with established religion. Not because they have an inherent need to dictate their faith, but because they have an inherent need to connect to a real and life changing faith. Therefore, they practice their faith in a way that feels more real to them than the lifeless dogma of established denominationalism. They stimulate their emotions and senses, to try and feel something real. For the sake of the livelyhood of the church, we must not offer the lost an over arching moral code, or a good set of living guidelines, but they must be called to drink deeply of the living water of scripture. I believe in time the postmoderns will find that emotional and sensory experiences will leave them empty as did the other. They are however in no more danger than the “believers” who feel secure in their strong heritage of morality and tradition. The health of the church is dictated by only one thing: Our ability to grasp to the scriptures for our very lives; the doctrines of faith and salvation that have brought the church through centuries of persecution; the fundamental principles of God’s inspired and authoritative revelation of Himself. And we must be willing to put away every incongruence to which we hold for the sake of our comfort. The healthy church is the church which finds sufficience in pursuing their savior and living life in the great traditions of faith established by God the Father Himself. As nthesticks said, this will likely end up looking a lot like the new testament church.