I watched this promo video for the latest book defending the traditional church last night.
Notice the scenes the video flips to: people walking into a "church", the front of a church building, a pastor sitting in a pew, a pastor standing on a raised platform behind a lectern "preaching". All imagery of a notion of church centered on buildings, clergy and Sunday morning meetings. Notice also the endorsements. Professional pastors and a seminary president. Finally look again at the people chosen in the beginning. Goofy looking, non-churchy appearing people with queer notions of church compared to the proper pastor setting them straight if they would just become "members" of a local church and sit quietly in their pews.
Why do we see so many Christian leaders, typically vocational ministers, writing books on the importance of what they do for a living and the crucial nature of "church membership" that binds believers to their local church to the exclusion of all other Christians? Is it perhaps because more and more voices are asking disquieting questions? Is the curtain truly being drawn back? I think fear is what drives books like this, and DeYoung's Why We Love The Church and "ministries" like 9 Marks, the fear of losing the system that is so comfortable and familiar.
If you want to be part of a traditional church and sign your name to a membership list, that is your business. I think it is unhealthy and you rob yourself and your family of the full richness of the Kingdom community but that is your choice. I just would ask that you don't presume to wag your finger at those who are seeking to imitate the early church rather than conforming to the institutional church. Many Christians are seeking something different, not to be rebellious but to be faithful, seeking expressions of the church that focus on relationships between believers instead of performances, an expression that encourages all of the brothers to participate in a meaningful way rather than simply sitting and watching. These questions threaten some but they liberate and equip many. So these guys can keep writing their books to defend tradition, I will keep calling the church to seek a better way.