Friday, January 25, 2013

Thoughts after coffee

I had coffee with a pastor friend this morning.  We try to get together a couple times a month, though it doesn't happen often.  I mentioned my premise concerning many of the ills of "the church" are the churches own fault.  Churches are empty!  I couldn't get my friend to argue with a single point I made.  Many churches have closed their doors or merged with other congregations and even now struggle.  I suspect that there are many issues and here are some of them:
Diluted doctrine   Many churches don't hold fast to the truths of Scripture.  Over the years the concepts of sin, Hell, righteousness, Biblical authority--all the historic teachings which were handed down from Christ to the apostles--have been lost and replaced by "nice" things.  People want to be affirmed, built up, told that they're OK; they don't want to be told that they're sinners and that sin will be addressed!  A steady diet of that preaching and (lack of) teaching makes folks lose interest and walk away.
Preachers who don't believe their own message  I've read studies in which pastors have (anonymously, of course) admitted to not believing what they preach, but continue on in fear of losing their jobs--I'll not glorify them and say ministries--if their congregations discovered the truth.  Focus on the wrong things Among churches that still do teach the truth, there is often a trend toward teaching how a Christian should behave, not concentrating on what he should believe. Right believing is the key to right behaving; the reverse is not the case. Some such churches indeed preach and teach the Gospel; but their attitude toward any who behave differently drive folks away.
Lack of godly male leadership   Here's a landmine waiting for me to step on; but I'll just point to reality.  Examine the growing, dynamic churches in the nation--and around the world.  They're lead by men.  The women have a strong role, the men need them there and of that there is no doubt; however look at the proof in the churches. 
Lack of reality   All too many Christians just are not real.  They might talk the talk; but they don't walk the walk.  That's not attractive!  There's a struggling world out there and its members are looking for reality!  They are looking for real men, real women, real families....  They are not looking for platitudes and lip service.  They're looking for Christians and churches to step up to the plate and be honest, about who and what they are, what they believe and show how they deal with life.  That will also solve the perceived problem of the church not being relevant in today's culture. 

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