“I have been writing this volume while residing in Germany for a teaching trip. I am humbled by penning these 95 theses in the same country as Martin Luther did many years ago. I submit these to the evangelical church of our day and pray that God would allow anything of truth in these pages to bend and change men’s hearts back to God.” – Greg Gordon –
It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament pattern there can be no true revival. – A.W. Tozer
I am currently reviewing and commenting on 95 theses to the modern evangelical church “revised”! by Greg Gordon. The following discusses the approaches of institutionalized/commercialized churches.
The modern evangelical church loves itself more than its neighbor.
1 Corinthians 3:3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
This seems like an easy blanket statement. After all, the vast majority of churches spend the bulk of their money, time, resources, etc., growing their church/denomination rather than helping others. Many churches to have outreach programs and the such. However, even in those that do, it seems the main focus is growing. From the outside, looking in, it certainly seems that churches love themselves more than their neighbors. With that being said, we cannot know the heart of man. Only God can judge that. I would stop short of passing this blanket statement to all church and/or those who attend them.
However, I can look inside my own heart. There, I see selfishness. I see that I have missed many opportunities to demonstrate love to my neighbor that exceeds love for myself. Jesus said, “This is how they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I have a long way to go to reach this height. I pray that God helps me to love my neighbor more than myself. Once I get this beam from my own eye, perhaps I will speak more of the speck in the eye of others.
The church must repent of its idolization of personality and business principles.
2 Corinthians 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
1 Corinthians 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
1 Corinthians 12:23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
I can speak more directly on this topic. For over a decade, I have helped to manage businesses, giving me insight and experience into how they run from top to bottom. I have also attended various churches across the nation. Regardless of the denomination, they all have strong characteristics in common with business. Namely, in how they run their operations, and grow.
To give you an example, I read an article about a pastor of a church who wanted to do something different for just one week. He suggested, to the board of elders, that instead of doing a normal service, that they take one Sunday and have the congregation help repair homes in the community. A storm recently struck the area, leaving many homes damaged beyond the financial means of many to have repaired. The idea certainly sounded like something Jesus would support, and would go a long way in arguing against the last thesis (about the church loving itself more than its neighbor).
However, the board of elders denied the pastor’s request. They noted that when the average congregant missed a service, they rarely tithed double the following week to make up for their normal monetary offering to the church. To have the entire congregation miss a week would mean they could very well miss a quarter of their anticipated revenue for the month. They went on to state that the church simply could not afford that.
I totally understand the need for funds to keep any organization running. However, Christians differ from most businesses in that we trust God to provide to support those ministries that He wills. Many churches today trust more in the American business model than God and his model for being the church.
By His Grace,