Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I think it is good to read and listen to those who you don’t necessarily agree with. One can learn things that you wouldn’t necessarily have learned if you didn’t take in another’s viewpoint.

I say this to specifically point out that I continue to read blogs of those who see things differently than I do in regards to ecclesia(ekklesia) and how church should look.  In some ways, I see the same issues the anti-institutional guys see.  Seeker-sensitive churches that are all-consumed with being relevant and concerned with growth instead of preaching and proclaiming Christ and His death and resurrection.  That is the very reason I left the local church a few years ago.

I was in the same place many of these individuals are.  I couldn't stand church.  I would go almost completely out of obligation.  Not that I felt I had to please God, but something of the sort.  At the time, I couldn't have accurately explained the reason.  But I know exactly why now.  Almost every sermon I heard would mention Jesus, and would briefly talk about how He died on the cross for my sins.  But immediately after that, I would hear about all the social justice issues that I needed to take part in.  How I should sell my house, uproot my family, and move into a different part of town to take part in mission with God and what He was doing.  How the church needed me to do more.  To be sure, often these imperatives were stated subtly, but there were times where they were much more overt.  All of this in the name of 'church growth.'

There is much wrong in the evangelical church today.  Not all, but certainly much.


It isn't the system that is necessarily the bad thing.  All of these bad things occur in a system, but the system, in and of itself, is not the problem.  Sin is the problem.  The same issues can and do occur in non-institutional settings.  We are sinners in need of a Savior.  While there are many bad things that occur in the institutional church, I see many things unhealthy on the other side.  I see many who blog about the merits of House or Simple or Non-IC church who emphasize what the believer needs to be doing instead of receiving.  This is NOT to say that we do not bear fruit that the Holy Spirit grows in us.  We bear fruit of good works that signal that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.  But the emphasis shouldn't be on how to build a better church, but about being faithful to what God has given us and acknowledge that He gives the growth.

I want to share a bit of scripture that I think many in the non-IC crowd will use to show what the church should be about, but is more promise than command, in my non-scholarly/ layman's view:

6So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:6-8

 Jesus says that you WILL be my witnesses.  Not that you ought to be or that you need to be witnesses.  Our faith is a gift of God's.  We are all dead in trespasses and sins.  Only God through His Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and brings us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  He certainly works through His Church, but it He that gives the increase, not the Church that can increase itself.  It is His work.  Not ours.

So while I do have much to empathize with those have grown tired of the institutional church, for there are many things wrong with it,  they are emphasizing the wrong syllable, so to speak.  The focus shouldn't be on how to fix the Church, for we aren't able to...  for Christ is the one who is the author and perfecter of our faith.  The focus is to continue to trust God and His Word.  That He will never leave us nor forsake us.  And He will bring the increase.  Whether that be in our own faith or visible growth in the Church.

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