Church And Church Bashing

The buzz, whether it is true or not, says that the younger generations are leaving church. Fewer and fewer young families are investing in Sunday morning worship or are putting their offspring into Bible classes designed for their age.

How much of this shift is due to church bashing, I wonder.

The traditional church has long been criticized. The Jesus Movement of the ’70s was an outgrowth of the dissatisfaction of a younger generation with the traditions they deemed straight-laced and meaningless.

Some congregations bowed to the demands of the youth culture, and for a time an exciting revival appeared to be sweeping through the church. Until some of those groups, led by the untaught, crumbled under false teaching or scandal.

A number of other churches held fast to the Bible as the authority even in a culture in flux. I happen to be fortunate enough to attend just such a church.

I hear what others on the web say about church, and it sounds like a foreign entity to me: mostly attended by women, full of infighting, legalistic, hypocritical, out of touch with the needs of society. That just doesn’t happen to be my experience.

Don’t get me wrong. All churches have shortcomings because they are made up of people, each one a sinner saved by grace, living somewhere between Romans 6, 7, and 8. In other words, some of us are struggling mightily with sin, some are living as more than conquerors, but probably most of us are somewhere in between.

I’ve been in a bad church before — where the worship leader didn’t believe in the divinity of Christ or much of the Bible as anything but myth. That was not a healthy church.

I’ve sat under good teaching, only to find out that the pastor’s wife was having an affair and their marriage ended up in divorce. This was not something that strengthened that body of believers.

What’s my point? Part of me wants to take an entire generation by the scruff of the neck and say, Man up! Stop complaining about church and get in there and make it better. (This approach is probably not the best example of speaking the truth in love, however 🙄 ).

No, the church isn’t perfect, but sitting around complaining about it and boycotting it (I did that for a while, too) assure the fact that you will have no part in a solution.

The truth is, the Church is the bride of Christ. He will not let His bride fail. Whether churches in America pay attention or not is another thing.

In the book of Revelation John wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to seven churches, and they all failed. The church in America faces a good many of the same issues those churches faced: wealth that can be a stumbling block, complacency, a propensity to leave our first love, a lukewarm attitude, false teaching, compromise, immorality. We have a choice to make. Will we bail on church, and so insure that the American church fails?

As I see it, church bashing may be in vogue, but it is certainly not in line with God’s purpose for His bride. Rather than sit back and complain, perhaps we would be wise to pray for our local body, to engage our pastors and worship leaders with thankful hearts, to love those in Christ who we sit next to Sunday after Sunday. God makes it clear that the way we treat each other (not our style of worship) tells the world who we are. I believe a body of Christians who love God and love each other will be winsome and attractive, even to the post-modern generation.

Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm  Comments (17)  
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