Tuesday, November 15, 2011
P4E.219 An Open Letter to the Church at Large - Part 3
From Part 1:
"First of all, I am nobody. I have no credentials. I have no theology degree. I don't claim to be a prophet of God. I do not claim this to be a "prophetic utterance." I don't claim that God "told me" to say these things. I'm just a guy who is (hopefully humbly) pursuing Christ in his own way. I do recognize that people distinguish between the "church" and the "Church," but for my purposes, they are one and the same and what I have to say goes for both. This is certainly meant to be more than a friendly nudge, more than a good natured poke. It's meant to be a hard jab in the ribs or a kick in head of the Church. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
Church, I know that I am you and you are me. Any accusations I have against you, are against me as well. I don't separate myself from you. Your faults are my faults.
I used a word in Part 2: "clique." You, Church, have fractured yourself into a clique away from the world and into cliques within yourself. The clique you have made against the world is like a club. You are in, and the rest of the world is out. You have turned inward and insulated yourself away from it. You are no good to it. You are deluded into thinking that you are doing some good by ministering inwardly to yourself, when it is the outside world that really needs you.
You have fractured yourself into so many denominations and splinter groups that you are no longer recognizable as a unified whole. Why should you not be combining congregations instead of dividing into new ones? Your pastors must have huge egos to believe that they have something so new to bring to the people that they must start a new church. Every time a new church opens its doors, you divide yourself further and the Enemy rejoices. Are there really that many facets to our Belief that we need to continuously divide and separate ourselves away from each other?
You go over and over the same theological ground. To what purpose? I actually heard a well known pastor in his sermon giving a litany of different approaches to proving that there is a God! We cannot have it both ways, Church! Either we have faith, which is a belief in things that cannot be proved, or we can engage in trying to prove that there is a God. I choose faith. So within our own insulated group, we console ourselves with "proofs" that there is a God, that creationism is right and evolution is wrong, that abortion is murder, that the ten commandments and the cross should be in public places, that homosexuality is the bane of our culture, that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that the country is going to hell in a handbasket. You may even acknowledge to yourself that the world needs God, but you make no real effort to represent Him well to the world.
In an ironic twist, you are of the world, but not in it. You have adopted the materialism of the world, but have had little to no spiritual effect upon it. Your worship services aspire to be like the introductions at an NBA game. Your ad campaigns rival anything on Wall Street. You've taken advantage of the media of the world, but have no substantive message for it. You are worldly in your insatiable need for money, instead of giving it away. You are worldly in your focus on self-improvement, instead of self-sacrifice. You are worldly in your desire to be entertained, instead of putting your hand to the plow and getting work done. You have exerted a patriotism and adopted a conservative politics instead of championing the Spirit of Christ to a needy world. Where is your Jesus?
There will be more...