Friday, December 30, 2005

No Church? No Problem - Christianity Today Magazine

read here: No Church? No Problem - Christianity Today Magazine

I think it will sound good to the person trying to justify not going to church (just think, I can tithe to myself! sweet deal!) but it is a hard pill to swallow for someone who thinks we should 'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together". Seems more to be the logical conclusion of the seeker friendly church movement.

"The third question: Is this Revolution motivated primarily by the Spirit of God, advancing the kingdom beyond the walls of the stiff and often ineffective local congregation, or by the anti-institutional and individualistic drives of our time? Barna argues the former, and in the book's strongest chapter, he provides a relentless statistical indictment of the local church's failure to develop mature disciples. Barna is rightly incensed at the low level of spiritual maturity in the American church: 'As the research data clearly show, churches are not doing the job.'"

The fact that the church is not doing it's job should be a wake-up call to the church, not a justification to disband.

Reminds me of the episode of the Simpson where Homer stays home from church while the rest of the family braves the cold weather and goes to church.

This is almost funny till you realize that it is right on as far as where it is heading.
One Sunday morning, Homer decides that he'd rather sleep late than go to church. Marge is disappointed, but doesn't argue with him. While home alone, Homer dances in his underwear, drinks waffle batter and loafs around watching TV. Having thoroughly enjoyed his morning, Homer decides to forgo church for good and start his own religion. Marge doesn't approve, but that night Homer has a dream in which God visits him and expresses his acceptance of Homer's new religion. While home on Sunday, worshipping in his own special way by reading Playdude and smoking cigars, Homer causes a fire that nearly destroys the house. Ned Flanders is the only one who can save Homer's life, and after speaking with Reverend Lovejoy, Homer realizes that he should give up his religion and return to church.

Quote from Homer the Heretic:
God: Thou hast forsaken My Church!
Homer: Uh, kind of, b-but...
God: But what!
Homer: I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?
God: Hmm. You've got a point there.

Yet membership in a confessing body is fundamental to the faithful Christian life. Failure to do so defies the explicit warning not to forsake “our assembling together.” His understanding of this prompted Martin Luther to say, “Apart from the church, salvation is impossible.” Not that the church provides salvation; God does. But because the “saved” one can’t fulfill what it means to be a Christian apart from the church, membership becomes the indispensable mark of salvation.

“So highly does the Lord esteem the communion of His church,” Calvin wrote,” that He considers everyone a traitor and apostate from religion who perversely withdraws himself from any Christian society which preserves the true ministry of the word and sacraments.”

The Body, Charles W. Colson, 1992, Word Publishing, Page 70

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