Monday, June 04, 2007

More Than Just Complaining

Last week I was reading Centuri0n's post that mentioned a guy from Slate magazine who has been reading the Old Testament and putting up his reactions. I read the Slate article about Proverbs, where he thought some things were good advice, other stuff was outdated or he just outright rejected, and I was complaining that his whole series was "an exercise in missing the point."

One of the other commentors said this:
"I've been reading the whole series and found it to give great insight into the way educated but unspiritual people view scripture. But, praise God, at least he's doing something most don't--reading and engaging the text. Can you imagine how dynamic our churches would become if they did as much with born-again minds?"

I would venture to say that the problem is at least two-fold:
1) People don't study their Bibles (many don't read them, either), so they don't really have a clue about what it teaches
2) Churches themselves are moving away from teaching the Bible, and opting for other things instead, which undermines the authority of Scripture

There's a church here locally that was founded on the premise that "the reason unchurched people don't go to church is that it's boring and irrelevant." And I'm willing to say that there may be some people who don't go to church for that reason (although that's an excuse many Christians use as well). I don't think it's the only reason, but let's say for the sake of argument that is at least some of the problem.

If you're not careful, though, the design of your church service can present the idea that it is the Bible is boring and irrelevant. Pretty soon, you've got a church that is nothing more than a cross between a motivational seminar and a country club--all about self-help and activities, about being "winners," and never about sin, holiness, and glorifying God. (That church was the catalyst for this post.)

Here's the thing: we can have strong feelings and legitimate disagreements on what church should look like, but if we lose our foundation, nothing else matters. If we don't remain committed to Scripture as the basis of our faith, then everything becomes merely someone's opinion.

In the meantime, the commentor on Cent's post went on to encourage us to e-mail feedback to this guy and to pray for him, and I felt bad--really bad, because he was right, and that's what I should have been doing. Same thing with the pastor here locally.

So that's what I'm going to focus on--doing something more than just complaining.

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