MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

What’s Wrong With The Church?

April 14th, 2008 Visited 2241 times, 3 so far today

Country Church There are two things that bother me when I consider the church today.  These were brought to mind yesterday in a sermon.

Suffering

The first was sparked by Romans 8:17 where Paul tells the believers there that they should expect suffering because Christ suffered.  Where is the suffering in the body of Christ today?  Overseas somewhere, but not in America.

Now, I know that America was founded as a Christian nation, and that many will claim persecution when they’re not able to pray at their high school graduation, etc., but that’s not suffering.

In the early church people were being used as human torches.  They were being used as lion chow.  There is a big difference between giving your life for your faith and having a slab of the Ten Commandments taken out of a court house.

Here’s the question: Is the reason that we aren’t seeing real persecution because we aren’t evidencing real Christianity?

Love

Why is it that any unsaved person would ever want to step inside a church?  Since a church, by definition, seeks to help the believer on his progress to becoming holy, and therefore has a list of do’s and don’ts a mile long (so it seems), why would someone go there?

In the New Testament time the pagans were said to have commented about the Christians of that time: “See how they love one another, how they are willing to die for one another.”

Today, we have a hard time getting members out for a church workday, getting people to come back Sunday night (if you still have services, that is) or coming back to prayer meeting.  People use Sunday as a travel day, and there really is little connection between believers in the same church.

Here’s the question: If we truly had the kind of love that is willing to die for another believer, what would be different in our lives?

Comments

15 Comments

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  • MamaArcher says on: April 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm

     

    Consider this: there is often more “real” persecution within and from other members of the body of Christ than from unbelievers. Just something to think on…..

    MamaArcher’s last blog post..A Daughter’s View of Courtship

  • AG says on: April 15, 2008 at 12:24 pm

     

    I’m so glad every church isn’t like the church you just defined. I am so blessed by my home church. While you’re right about persecution, you’re wrong (at least as far as this one church body goes) about love.

    Still, we can always get better. What are some ways the global church can be more united, more tied together with love, and more ready to stand with each other?

    AG’s last blog post..Fireball

  • MInTheGap says on: April 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

     

    I’m glad to hear that you church is doing well in the love department. My current church has been through a few splits, and I think that’s one of the most damaging things to the body of Christ for a given area. That being the case, you can grow again– it just takes time.

    As for persecution, my question still stands. Why is it that we aren’t seeing persecution– or is it just a long time in coming? Many would say the latter is true.

    As for unity on an ecumenical basis, I don’t believe that is healthy or possible. I think that we’d all admit that there are many doctrinal differences between denominations and sometimes within denominations. While I believe it’s important not to attack fellow believers, and while it’s appropriate for believers to fellowship regardless of denomination, a church unit functions with a certain set of beliefs that may be incompatible with another set. It’s not saying that the one set is unsaved, but it is saying that it’s probably better to worship with those that you agree with.

  • AG says on: April 15, 2008 at 2:14 pm

     

    As far as doctrine, I very much believe there are two types of doctrine: Salvation doctrine and Footnote doctrine.

    If salvation hinges on something (for instance, idolatry) then don’t compromise on it. But if it’s something we can work around and love around (for instance, head coverings) then let’s do.

    AG’s last blog post..Fireball

  • MInTheGap says on: April 15, 2008 at 2:56 pm

     

    It all comes down to where you draw the line. Some people believe that head coverings are part of obedience which are then linked to salvation. Some link baptism to obedience to salvation (or at least church membership).

    Don’t get me wrong, salvation is of first and primary importance, but there are so many doctrines people try to piggy back there that it seems better to keep the official activities in one category and the personal in another.

  • AG says on: April 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm

     

    Right, and so for those people who believe in head coverings, I’m not going to argue with them and tell them they’re not necessary.

    I go back and forth with baptism, but on those days when I believe it’s only a symbol, I won’t get on the cases of those who believe it to be necessary.

    It’s not worth dividing the body of Christ.

    AG’s last blog post..Fireball

  • MInTheGap says on: April 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

     

    There’s a fine line between a personal attitude and a church’s position. That’s one of the reasons I had trouble with the whole church giving an apology. The pastor in that case had it completely backwards in my opinion. He was saying that he personally had a set of beliefs, but that the church was wrong to stand in judgment when I believe it’s the exact opposite. In my dealings with the unsaved and with those of different denominations I am to show mercy, love, grace and compassion. But the church has to stand for Christ’s holiness.

    Not that I personally will take a different stand, but the church was never commissioned to go out and take care of the poor– the Christian was. When they served the widows in Acts, they served the church’s widows. Does this mean we should not have charities? Certainly not. What it does mean is that there is a division between what the church was to do and what the Christian was to do.

    I am beginning to believe more and more what I heard once, which is this: The church is for the believer. It was never intended to be an evangelistic tool.

    Going one step further, I think that the church became the evangelistic tool about the time Christians stopped personally witnessing. It was so much easier to create programs to bring people to the church than to live the Christian life and share the Gospel. I personally believe that this is part of the reason that the church of Jesus Christ is having trouble in America today. It’s not that the message doesn’t work. It isn’t that God doesn’t change lives. It’s that the people of God have abdicated their responsibility to witness to the church, and then wonder why people won’t come to the church to hear the message.

  • AG says on: April 15, 2008 at 11:13 pm

     

    I see your point. I take things a step further. I’m terrible at evangelising, but am trying to improve, so some of what I believe is hypocritical of how I act. But I believe everything we do should have two purposes: 1) Bring glory to God. 2) Bring God to the unbeliever. Even the church should focus on maturing and equipping its believers, not just to have a strong church, but so its believers reach out.

    AG’s last blog post..Fireball

  • MInTheGap says on: April 16, 2008 at 8:48 am

     

    If you look at the Great Commission you see that the focus of it was to go out and make disciples. This is what I see the primary mission of the church to be. If you look at Jesus ministry, he spent a lot of time equipping His disciples, and then sent them out. Same thing with churches. The church should be there to build up the Christian, to teach him what honors God, and then to equip him to go out and make disciples. I don’t believe that you can have a strong church that is not making disciples.

  • AG says on: April 16, 2008 at 10:56 am

     

    I suppose I see the church as less of an entity than you do. To me, I am the church. You are the church. Amanda is the church. MamaArcher is the church. If you create an organization and put people in charge of growing the members, when are they focused on evangelism?

    Intead, every one of us should focus on building ourselves and each other up in the faith, pushing each other toward christlikeness, and witnessing to unbelievers all the time.

    AG’s last blog post..Shout to the Lord

  • Rebecca says on: April 19, 2008 at 10:08 pm

     

    “The church is for the believer. It was never intended to be an evangelistic tool.”

    You are so right! And, sadly, I have to agree with MamaArcher too (not surprising, since we are RLFs).

    Just off the top of my head, I think our lack of love toward one another stems from our complacency. In other words, if it was really important to live out God’s instructions to us, we would see one another as team mates, not inconveniences.

    One thing I think would be different in a church that was really loving each other I believe is more of a cause than an effect: more processing ideas with each other. We sit in church multiple times a week and hear great messages, then leave and do nothing about it. There’s never time to share our concerns with one another and to pray together.

    Off soapbox. Good topic!

    Rebeccas last blog post..Splendid Weekend Reads for April 19 & 20

  • MInTheGap says on: April 19, 2008 at 11:48 pm

     

    @Rebecca: Or that time is relegated to Wednesday night and people are too concerned about their image to actually share. I believe that if we really wanted to see God work, we’d stop our little strategic planning meetings and programs and start looking to see what God is doing in our area and join Him in that, and drop the phony Christian facade and be true to our fellow church members.

  • AG says on: April 21, 2008 at 1:15 am

     

    What does RLF stand for?

    OH MY GOSH, GOD IS SO GOOD!

    Rebecca, you’re right on about complacency. And boy, has God done a number on me this weekend! Let’s just say I have a new fire under my butt and I’m seeing Him work in various people around me the same way. I think we’re on the forefront of a revolution. God is calling His people to step up like never before!

    Hallelujah!

    AGs last blog post..Shout to the Lord

  • Rebecca says on: April 21, 2008 at 3:17 pm

     

    Sorry! RLF = real life friend.

    Another idea that relates to this came up in the sermon yesterday and that is: worship through testimonies. Our church rarely features testimonies in the worship service, but it would so helpful in just modeling to people how to talk about the awesome things they see God doing.

    Now off to look at AG’s blog. 🙂

  • AG says on: April 21, 2008 at 5:06 pm

     

    “Now off to look at AG’s blog.”

    Aw, thanks!

    AGs last blog post..Shout to the Lord

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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