Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What he said...

In the second scenario, the church is its own subculture, an alternative community not only for weekly dying and rising in Christ but for one's entire circle of friends, electricians, and neighbors. In this scenario, the people assume that they come to church primarily to do something. The emphasis is on their work for God. The preaching concentrates on principles and steps to living a better life, with a constant stream of exhortations: Be more committed. Read your Bible more. Pray more. Witness more. Give more. Get involved in this cause or that movement to save the world. Their calling by God to secular vocations is made secondary to finding their ministry in the church. Often malnourished because of a ministry defined by personal charisma and motivational skills rather than by knowledge and godliness, these same sheep are expected to be shepherds themselves. Always serving, they are rarely served. Ill-informed about the grand narrative of God's work in redemptive history, they do not really know what to say to a non-Christian except to talk about their own experiences and perhaps repeat some slogans or formulas that they might be hard-pressed to explain. Furthermore, because they are expected to be so heavily involved in church-related activities (often considered more important even than the public services on Sunday), they do not have the time, energy, or opportunity to develop significant relationships outside the church. And if they were to bring a friend to church, they could not be sure that he or she would hear the gospel.

Michael Horton. Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (pp. 190-191). Kindle Edition.

Okay, I think this is a bit of a blanket statement. Not everyone who goes to a specific church believes this, but I think that there are many who even unknown to themselves have this type of belief system. And I think that many specific churches, perhaps unintentionally, promote this type of belief. The list of items in the quote are not bad things, they are just not the end itself. Christ is the end. And sometimes our programs promote this type of belief. We promote slogans like, "Be the Church." Yet instead of telling us what it means to really be the Bride of Christ, we promote specific behaviors. Perhaps what we really need is marriage counseling! We follow slogans like, "Be Jesus" instead of encouraging belief in Jesus. To be Jesus is a heavy burden I cannot bear, although perhaps I would like to think I could. Believing Jesus, on the other hand, gives me hope.

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