Friday, February 28, 2014
Church and Parachurch
Take, for example, this observation: evangelicalism lacks a common “church polity, creed, and worship.” Thus, it is “without a self-conscious notion about ministry, a common theology, and a coherent understanding of worship.” By the latter, Hart means the shape of service or liturgy–what may be called ordered worship. Though evangelicalism tends to avoid reliance on forms, it does not have any substantial, enforceable rules for worship practice. The issue of creed and church polity go hand-in-hand: “In effect, the evangelical movement of the late twentieth century replaced the church with the parachurch…”Amen to that - it is a point we have made here over and over and over again.
It is not just about unity either. Evangelicalism is parachurch because it offers nothing beyond salvation. Entering a building has become dwelling in it. I enter a lot of building, but I do not live in them. Living in them implies a great deal more than simply going in every now and then. In Evangelicalism, not only to we encourage thinking that entering is dwelling, we actually design the building so entering is all there is.
And then we wonder about the state of things. Pathetic, really.