Inscrit le: 08 Mai 2016
|Posté le: Dim 9 Juil - 19:13 (2017) Sujet du message: Mere Churchianity Formerly Flatlining Church And The Thre
Fifty years ago, Billy Graham predicted that a time would come when millions of Christians would reject the institutional church. It would appear that this time has come to pass, as confirmed by a steady flow of data and statistics from various bodies, both secular and religious. For every church-going Christian in the UK, there are two who have given up attending church altogether; at the same time, in the US we find growing numbers of ‘Dones’ – Bible-believing Christians who are ‘done with church’.
The subsequent actions of these church exiles are many and varied: some try to regroup in a variety of forms, whilst others give up on fellowship altogether. Those that attempt to ‘do church right’ – including those groups that attempt to model themselves on biblical patterns – often end up looking very much the same as the churches from which they have fled, repeating the same fundamental errors. This being the case, is there any hope for the increasing numbers of believers who, disillusioned with church as they know it, are searching for authentic Christian community?
The author maintains that this can only happen when we come to recognise that our understanding of the Body of Christ – which became known as The Church – is flawed at a fundamental level; that the way we perceive the ekklesia is far removed from the way it was perceived by the first Christians, and more importantly, that it is light years away from what Jesus meant concerning it and from the kind of body life which God intends for us.
In support of this argument, one only has to make a relatively brief survey of the New Testament in order to realise that most of the features and practices traditionally associated with ‘church’ cannot be found there. The author goes on to present a more in-depth study of church history in order to identify how we arrived at the erroneous model we accept as normative today and considers whether the enemy pulled off the greatest coup of all time – one which has crippled the body of Christ for most of its existence. In what could prove to be the greatest irony of all,
Is it possible that church itself is not biblical?
If these claims are indeed true it would certainly explain why so many of those within its walls are spiritually dissatisfied: it would also explain why the church is increasingly viewed as irrelevant by those outside it.
In the meantime, we are in a war, the scale and intensity of which of us fully understands or appreciates. As a result the ancient structures are crumbling; the old order is gradually being swept away. In places like Britain and Europe—and with America looking set to follow suit—the observable Christian perimeter is shrinking. Large sections of church-as-a-thing-in-itself look set to end, not with a bang but a whimper.
All is not lost however: we need to remember Jesus’ proclamation: ‘I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’
Despite the ferocious attacks that Satan has launched upon the body of Christ down the centuries—not least of which has been the shackling of a once free and healthy body with chains wrought from the pride and self-interest of those who would raise themselves above others—God’s people will prevail. There is the possibility that a growing ragtag army—of a kind not seen since the early Christians who prevailed against the might of Rome—is slowly but surely coalescing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit into a fighting force that will rattle the gates of hell.