Monday, February 13, 2006

What is this church doing here???

Imagine the character Major Hochstetter on the old comedy "Hogan's Heroes" screaming the above headline. In the ongoing EC contratemps, this particular question, to me, is the overriding issue outside of the very real theological problems inherent in some aspects of the EC.

Biblically, the church is the Bride of Christ made up of saved, born-again people. Unbelievers are NOT part of the church. The purpose for the assembly (or church service if we must use that term) is not evangelism. The purpose of the assembly is overall for believers to worship God, learn the Word and be equipped for ministry, including evangelism. Evangelism is done as individual believers in our everyday lives. Evangelism certainly CAN happen at a worship gathering, but it is NOT to be the primary focus.

The problem is that we've got it all backwards and have for years. Perhaps it's economic. We have to do something, after all, to pay those salaries and the utility bills for these edifices where we gather. After all, we hire pastors and pay them a salary, by George. It's THEIR job to fill the pews, isn't it?

No, actually..it's not. It's my job and your job. The pastors' job is to equip us and teach us God's Word. But until we ditch this "Sunday go to meetin" mentality and function as the church was intended to function, we'll always get sidetracked with harmful diversions such as the EC. We need to quit wringing our hands over the notion that the churches are shrinking and we aren't "reaching this generation." Poppycock. I guarantee that if God's Word is faithfully proclaimed, the Holy Spirit is more than competent enough to draw people to Himself. After all, that's His job. Our job is to do what the Lord says to do through the "foolishness of preaching." The reasons churches bleed copiously is because they get AWAY from preaching God's Word faithfully. And here's one more. If God's Word is preached faithfully and people don't come, guess what? It's not our problem! The Gospel is offensive to the world. Huge numbers are no guarantee of God's hand being on something. The numbers in the Mormon church ought to illustrate that clearly enough.

All that the Father has given His Son will come to the Son. We have His promise of that. What we need to do is obey Him and faithfully preach His Word to the lost. Leave the rest to Him!

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