A Christian Worldview of the Church, Part 1

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I realize Thanksgiving is right around the corner for those of us in the US, but I’m going to save my remarks for a possible post tomorrow. No promises. I do have a dinner to get ready for. 😉

Instead, I want to discuss something I’ve been thinking about regarding the Church. I may have mentioned here a time or two that one of my pet peeves is church bashing—by Christians. I don’t want to do that. But the reality is, the Church in the US is on the decline. Our influence upon society is not as great as it once was. We have numerous false teachers claiming to be part of the Church. And to a degree we ourselves seem more intent upon working for societal change than for spiritual change. Could it be that the Church is dying?

Not at all.

With little effort, we can learn about the growth of the Church in unexpected places—places that persecute Christians and places with economic struggles (real ones that threaten life, not the Wall Street kind that mean we can only buy a six foot Christmas tree instead of an eight foot one).

And yet, there is a distinct pattern developing. Look at the churches the Apostle Paul established on his missionary journeys. Over time, they disappeared as salt in their world. Look at the churches spread throughout the Roman Empire. Who is worshipping in the great cathedrals of Italy, Denmark, or Belgium today? Or what about those churches established after the Reformation by Martin Luther and John Calvin and John Wesley? Where is their witness in Germany or France or England?

One might wonder if Christianity doesn’t just play itself out after time, and perhaps the Church in the US is experiencing the downside as Biblical faith is ushered out the door. There may be some truth to this concept, but not as a part of inevitability due to some endemic problem with religion or, specifically, with Christianity.

The problem is with Mankind, not with Christianity.

Interestingly, the Bible forewarns the Church of the possibility of losing our place in society. I’m referring to Revelation 2 and 3, in which John, via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, records a message to seven specific churches.

Here’s the thing. Should God by His mercy give many more years to this world, then the Church in the US must pay attention to what Scripture says, or we too can lose our place in the evangelism of the lost.

So what is it we find in Revelation? First, to the church in Ephesus:

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent.
– Revelation 2:4-5

My question, then, is this: Has the Church in the US left its first love? Do we love God as much as we love liberty? Or our family? Or our health? And our wealth?

My prayer is that we will repent. But that starts with me.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 12:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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