Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Church doesn't suck

(Note: I recognize that this post is unkind and the tone borders on mocking, but this sort of stuff sends me off the deep end)

Speaking of pragmatism...

So my wife met a guy at the local library and in the course of their conversation, he gave her his blog address. From his blog I followed a link to the website of a church in Saginaw (Connecting Points Community Church with the clever webpage churchdoesntsuck.com), and my jaw hit the floor. Their webpage started out with this...

Even if most churches don't want to admit it, church has become notoriously boring and disconnected from our everyday lives. Most of us gave up on church years ago. After all, when's the last time you got up on a Sunday morning and thought about going to church instead of reading the newspaper or sleeping in?

Well, honestly the last time I thought about going to church instead of reading the newspaper was...well, it was last Sunday.

From the first century, within hours of Jesus assending back into heaven, the religious leaders began inplementing man made rules in order to become a Christian. Read Acts 15, it is pretty fascinating! Centuries later a guy named Martin Luther came along and criticized the church for how difficult they made it for those who wanted to follow Christ.

Is that what Martin Luther was mad about, that church was just so darn difficult? See, I thought he was railing against the heretical teachings of Rome regarding justification, regarding the authority of the Scriptures and the need for it to be in the language of the common people. Now I know that he just wanted Pope Leo to hook him up with an espresso machine, a laptop with power point and an electric guitar. I also thought that Martin Luther started (sort of) the movement that became known as "Protestant". Apparently not...

Luther began what we know as the protistant movement, that simplified things for those who wanted to follow Christ, and thousands began to leave the traditional church.

One hundred years later, the same thing that Luther fought so hard to keep out of the church crept right back in. Today, we are still dealing with the same junk that makes it difficult for people to see the love and truth of Jesus! Jesus brother James critizised the first century religious leaders saying "It is my judgement that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. At Connecting Points, we have the same passion! Church is not for church people, church is for EVERYBODY!

Seriously, if you don't know how to spell a word, use spell check. I guess they are spending so much time being relevant and havin' fun that spelling takes a back seat. And church is NOT for everyone. The church is for, well, the church. The church is His flock, made up of His sheep, and not everyone is one of His sheep. Since you are so into looking back at Acts to see how to behave (although I am wondering if we are reading the same Acts), look at see how many unbelievers are in the church. Should we make unbelievers welcome?Absolutely! Should we tailor the service and the message to appeal to them? Absolutely not! I guess I am just an old stodgy dude, heck I even wear a suit and tie to church...

The teaching is relevant, the music is upbeat and it is a relaxed atmosphere. (Don't bring your suit and tie, you might feel a little out of place! Coffee, Jeans and T-Shirts are welcome by all!)

I am thinking that what would make me feel out of place at this church has less to do with my attire and more to do with the cavalier way they manipulate the Gospel to make it seem relevant.

My wife Eva asked the question: how do you harness the intense energy of these people, while bringing them under the authority of the Word? The are so enthusiastic, so desirous of being used. To use her term, how do we bridge the gap? Or do we? Are we all on the same team or is this a different Gospel, and therefore anathema? I gotta admit that I lean towards the latter, that this "Gospel" they proclaim is no Gospel at all. I wonder if they are interested in learning at all, or if by presenting the truth you would drive away people who have no interest in the truth.


James said...

Well building the church of the tares seems to be the trend these days. But we all know what true Church Growth and Preaching does, it regenerates the unregenerate. First few chapters of Acts are explicit no? Then 2:47 makes it plain that the Lord is the one who adds to their numbers. I guess in situations like this, the safe assumption is that there may be a few brethren actually snared by this, and we should call them out from amongst the idolaters.

Anonymous said...

Wow, dont ask me how I found your blog. Your comments on this group are a tad relevant as I not only live in Saginaw, I also knew of this church start up from friends in Chicago who gave me a synopsis of their missionary plans here in Saginaw. My initial interest was in the potential start up of a new, dynamic church. The background of the individual who was starting the church was from the Willow Creek church in the Chicago area. I lived for 20 years in Chicago and was very involved in a very fast growing church that eventually became a cult, if you believe in those kinds of things. My wife and I left that church after many years and then spent the next 10 years recovering. And here we are. Many of the questions you ask about this group are very relevant for the church today. I dont pretend to have any final word on the subject, but these whole issues of what is relevant for the church, who is the church and how should we be here on earth are, as they have always been, very much in need of serious consideration. There is nothing new under the sun (I have heard that before) and this is not much newer. As best I can spin it all, this church is lead by an individual very much influenced by the "new" notion of marketing to the unchurched. Alot of it is all about markenting. Find your target market (those who would rather sit at home and read the paper on Sunday) and appeal to them. (Church doesnt have to suck!) Im not sure there is anything wrong with this on the surface, but it is all the extras that tend to come with this "new" way of doing things. The intent is good, but the road to hell...you know. Much of the attention these this kinds of churchs receive is for their effectivness, i.e. growth. And in many peoples minds, growth is success. Also, much of this kind of church is the "tradional" churches doing, as we often have droped the ball. (For brevity sake, I wont even go into all that.) Zeal without knowledge is part of the problem. Rom 10.2
More often than not, people are brought to Christ, but disciples are not being made. From personal experience, that is not a good thing.

Sorry for the ramble.


Arthur Sido said...

Steve, the blogosphere is a funny thing, you start following links and never know where you might end up. I have more than once tried to remember how I got somewhere!

Anonymous said...

I have the perfect church slogan for these 'wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever...'

"We entertain goats, instead of feeding sheep."

My concern is not so much with these ding-bats, as it is with the skunks in churches who teach sound doctrine but won't 'practice' sound doctrine.

Knowledge and understanding isn't our problem but the demonstration of Wisdom and the practice of sanctification.

(The poor spelling indicates poor scholarship, learning, and an overall laziness in dealing with words, does it not?)