A Warning from the Past for Churches Today

 

A friend of mine shared this quote with me, and I think it is most poignant for churches today.

 

J.H. Thornwell, the great Southern Presbyterian theologian of the nineteenth century, noticed the churches in his day moving in a dangerous direction, a direction that he feared might compromise the very message of the church. In a letter written in July 1846, Thornwell warned:

Our whole system of operations gives an undue influence to money. Where money is the great want, numbers must be sought; and where an ambition for numbers prevails, doctrinal purity must be sacrificed. The root of evil is in the secular spirit of all our ecclesiastical institutions. What we want is a spiritual body; a Church whose power lies in the truth, and in the presence of the Holy Ghost. To unsecularize the church should be the unceasing aim of all who are anxious that the ways of Zion should flourish.

 

(This quote is from a book about  Jonathan EdwardsA God Entranced Vision of all Things.)

Plastic Baby Jesus, Real Donkeys

live-nativity

Over Christmas we visited a live nativity where baby Jesus was plastic (I just find that funny). Please don’t email me about why they used a plastic baby doll. I get it, really.

Anyways, we had a fun time. The sponsoring church sent us this free photo. Our picture was taken after we had walked through the petting zoo where one very greedy donkey kept kicking the other animals in the head. I guess he was upset that he hadn’t been chosen to be in the manger scene above.

Maybe next year the donkeys could be plastic and Jesus could be a real baby….Hee Haw!…Hee Haw!

I’m Quitting Church!

quitting-church1You can’t make everyone happy. Nowhere in my life has this quip proved more true then in the church. Fortunately, as a pastor I’m not concerned with making everyone in the church happy. What does concern me is assisting people in the church with the means to mature in their faith.  This Christmas I received Julia Duin’s book on why faithful Bible believing Christians are leaving the church. From unmet needs to shallow teaching her insights echo some of the rumblings I’ve heard from professing Christians that have fled their churches. Filled with alarming statistics and personal accounts, Duin’s book is a shot across the bow of church leadership, a shot that deserves to be addressed. I recommend it to anyone who desires to be a part of  a church that reaches those outside the faith with the gospel as well as one that feeds maturing believers with more than the basics of the faith.

Additional Book Recommendations

Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr.

Consumerism in the Church: Part I: What if Starbuck’s marketed like the church?

A friend of mine passed this along to me this morning. It’s really funny. Sadly, I see this behavior every week at church, even from myself.

 

 

Praise the coffee! Pass the muffins.

As funny as the video is about the odd behavior demonstrated at churches there is a question begging to be addressed in lieu of the video, which is, how does a church effectively reach out to its community without being consumer driven in its focus? That is, how do we keep from becoming more concerned with what flavor of coffee is meeting with our guests satisfaction than with presenting a clear presentation of the gospel, as well as, providing Christians with a service in which they can worship?  (more to come)