Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Changing Church

MMI linked to a piece controversially entitled:

How to change traditional churches into New Testament churches

If that is not designed to pick a fight, I don't know what is. The piece then proceeds to present fifteen suggestion for how to accomplish the goal stated in the title. I will present just three here:
1. Replace professional clergy with Priesthood of all Believers with authority to baptize, break bread and equip fishers of men. (1 Peter 2:9)

5. Replace the "Crumb and Sip" Holy Communion with simple "Community meals" eaten together with gladness from house to house. (Acts 2:46; 1 Cor 11:20-23)

7. Replace the spectator church to participatory, interactive, prophetic and Missionary sending church. (1 Cor 14:26-31; Acts 13:13)
I picked these three becasue they are all ideas I find very tempting and appealing. I have toyed with all of them. But some of the ideas presented are presumptive, highly judgmental, belie what is the bottom line problem with a list like this:
12. Replace powerless and fruitless church with militants who heal the sick, raise the dead, expel the demons, bind the ‘strongman’ and plunder his possessions. (Matt 11:12, 12:29)
Indeed, all the things suggested there are called for in the N.T., but do you see the problem? Consider the tone of presentation and the presumption that the church as it currently is practiced cannot do those things - that it is fruitless and powerless - an amazing assertion given that it has survived two millenia and we still hear the gospel somehow. Clearly, this guy's ego has gotten in the way of these perhaps good ideas just as much as ego and sin has gotten in the way of how the church has done things to this pint. Which is the bottom line.

You see, it matters less what the church does and more how it does it - make that WHO does it. And that does not mean we have the find the especially anointed. That means we have to grab hold of the transformation in each of us that is the real heart of the gospel.

If we are the people that God intends us to be, church will work right no matter how we choose to organize and do it.

Maybe that's where we should start. Instead of praying, "God help us to make the right decision here about how to...," we should pray "God make us your men and women - people submitted to your will." and then rely on the answer to that prayer to put us in the position to make the right decision.

That sounds really sacry to me, but I wonder.

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