18 November 2011

Guest Post: Disenchantment

The following is a guest post entitled "Disenchantment."  It is an edited free write originally penned by my brother.

I have found myself increasingly disenchanted by the church.  And by church, I refer not to the beautiful institution our Lord designed and personally built but to the modern local congregations, which seem increasingly worthless.

In many churches I have visited, I have found spiritually dead historians who force themselves into attendance out of respect for tradition.

I say they are spiritually dead because they have neither energy nor desire to make the local congregation buzz with excitement for new deeds and new projects. Additionally, they do not initiate any deeds or projects to further the gospel, care for the downtrodden, and strengthen the believers.  Instead, they eat the same dull meal week in and week out, hardly prospering on their diet devoid of nutrition.

I say they are historians because they are full of knowledge about the church, both universal and local.  They are proud of the fact that they are part of the original church founded shortly after the ascension of Jesus.  They thoroughly know its origins and are second-to-none concerning knowledge of the written records provided by Luke, Paul, and others.  They also well-know the local history, the whens and wheres of the congregation, how long each member has been a member, and so on.  Though nothing is wrong with knowing such information, it seems to be a point of pride, and this pride is especially unjustified.  There is no special place in heaven for those who have had long tenures in one congregation, especially if, during their lifetimes, nothing of note or value was done.

I say force themselves in attendance because there is no rational reason for going to a building every Sunday to hear the drivel that currently passes for teaching.  In fact, they have been steered away from forceful, simple, truthful lessons, leading churches into a search for something “new” and “original”—whatever those terms mean.  In practice, this leads to reading through familiar texts and briefly mentioning the “obvious,” what “we’ve all heard before,” and then scanning the texts for new ideas, making obscure, tenuous connections which make the “learner” feel like he has discovered something brilliant and heretofore unnoticed.  At the end of the assembly, however, nothing has been accomplished: nothing new of substance has been learned and neither have holy, eternal truths been reaffirmed and reinforced.

Right now, churches are in self-preservation mode.  No preparations have been made for the future.  Self-perpetuation is the proper state of churches, because the church is to perpetuate itself.  However, when any institution shifts into self-preservation mode, there no longer exists a purpose for its existence.  The goals and aims of the institution have either been fulfilled or discarded.  Since the purpose of the church can never be fulfilled until every last person on this earth has been confronted with the decision to accept Christ or not, far too many local churches find themselves guilty of lapsing into self-preservation because of discarded goals.  Sadly, many churches exist to merely exist, fooling themselves into believing they are necessary for the advance, or even non-retreat, of Christ’s cause.  On this battlefield, if you are not advancing, you are retreating.

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