Time For Truth

A place to grow in the Grace & Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

True Reformation part 1

How do we “fix” the problem? My church is not growing, what conference and church growth technique can I use to “fix” this problem? Our church seems stale and boring, what do I do to fix this? If you are asking these questions then you have missed the point entirely. The questions themselves indicate that we have already bought into modernity and have become worldly in our thinking.

Dr. David F. Wells in his excellent book, God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams, writes this:

The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not inadequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music, and those who want to squander the church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to stanch the flow of blood that is spilling from its true wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common.

Dr. Wells is absolutely right. The issues of technique, organization and music are real ones, but they are only symptoms of a much deeper problem. “Fixing” these issues, does not address the underlying problems, and only serves to mask the real issues. Applying business techniques to the church brings in pragmatic methodologies and solutions that might, for a time, create an illusion of health. But what about the fact that God rests lightly on the church? How about the issue that the holiness and righteousness of God is nothing more than an antiquated ideology? How about the loss of objective universal truth that is true for everyone everywhere? Do we understand the difference between biblical grace and easy, ordinary, cheap grace? Do we believe in a God of judgment? Do the members of our congregation even understand the gospel message? Has Christ become too common, or maybe he is just an idea or even a “friend” who looks, thinks and acts just like us?

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April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Adel,

    The question “Does God rest too lightly on the church”? pretty much sums it up. Faith, by definition, is supposed to be an expression of what we believe. If church membership and/or attendance is only about being part of a club or social gathering, why not just join a civic group? Churches struggle because they either forget, or simply do not define, their mission and the essential beliefs upon which that mission is to be based.

    Comment by Rob Sayler | April 16, 2009

  2. Adel,

    Well spoken. As a returned PC(USA) Missionary I am struck by the obvious connection between dying congregations (theologically, statistically, etc) and the comfort and convenience of living in the USA. There is a connection. Where persecution exists, the church grows. A comfortable congregation is inevitably a dying congregation…

    Comment by Glen Hallead | April 16, 2009

  3. “God rests too inconsequently” could also
    mean that His Holy Spirit is lacking.
    We should be asking how can we obtain the power of God to do the work of God and
    receive more of God’s spirit like the
    early church. The church leaders today
    do not talk about the Holy Spirit as the agent for change, bringing in the lost,
    giving power to its members.

    Comment by L. Lee | April 17, 2009

  4. Rob,

    Excellent point. Without clear unequivocal utterly orthodox essentials, there can be no reformation.

    Glen,

    I think your observation has some very important validity. Some level of persecution does often create a greater surrender to God’s word and his leading. Though historically in the Middle-East, where I was born, an extreme level of persecution can also stifle and minimize the faith. But you are right that the wealth, “comfort” and ease of our culture is in many ways a greater challenge.

    L. Lee,
    You are absolutely right. For revival to occur within our churches, a surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit must occur, especially through the Holy Spirit given Word of God. I think that the Holy Spirit is spoken of less and less because in mainline denominations, the liberals deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit, while for many evangelicals it is easier to look toward modern business techniques.

    Comment by Adel | April 17, 2009


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