The Death of the Church?

I attend a multi-denominational meeting of local pastors once a week and we share our hearts with each other. One pastor has shared a burden numerous times over the decisions his denomination is making and how it has grieved him so. He stated a sobering thought at one of our recent meetings: "I really feel that in order for the right to make peace with those on the left it may take the death of the church." What a sad day.

Christ gave himself for the church and sometimes I'm afraid we (myself included) have been very poor stewards of it. I'll never forget the talk Phyllis Tickle gave at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta two years ago. Her talk was on this very thing. She stated "every 500 years or so a great rummage sale comes around. We are living in that very time right now." I see it. Denominations are staking their claims. Churches are dividing over this or that... and its very much like a rummage sale - where we (as leaders of the church) are sorting through the church's "stuff." Her closing words (a warning) I'll also never forget: "don't let it get bloody!"

Its high time we go to prayer. We need to seek the face of God in the midst of our differences. We might also need to reclaim the cliche from the bracelets that were so popular in the 90's and ask ourselves "what would Jesus do?" And... we need to celebrate our differences. Craig Groeschel shared some differences he is thankful for recently that I think are worth mentioning here:

I’m thankful for the...
  • Social conscious of the United Methodists.
  • Emphasis on being born again from the Baptists.
  • Focus on holiness from the Nazarenes.
  • Power of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatics.
  • Evangelistic hearts of the seeker sensitive leaders.
  • Message of grace from the Lutherans.
  • Attention to right doctrine from the Bible Church leaders.
  • Heartfelt worship from Pentecostals.
    …and much more more!

    Be thankful for the differences... and be careful not to let it get bloody in the midst of your doctrinal disagreements and your churchy politics. After all, this is Christ's bride we are dealing with... and He loves her more than you'll ever know.

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  • 2 Responses to “The Death of the Church?”

    1. # Anonymous jason dye

      wonderfully put, terrace. i'd like to hear more of this great 'rummage sale' that phyllis speaks of (seems to be her mantra now, eh?) from other pastors on the ground. and i agree with your emphasis that while we are going to go through this change, we should go in united, able to see the beauty of those we disagree with.  

    2. # Blogger Tim Liu

      in response to the pastor's comment: the death of the denomination is not necessarily the same as the death of the church, though some might see it that way.  

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