“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 church structure and culture.
Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling the world’s goods is something that does not appear wrong to evangelicals.
Jeremiah 22:17 But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practising oppression and violence.”
Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
1 Timothy 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Ingrained in our American way of living, consumerism and covetousness permeates our thoughts and the way we live, even in our churches. So deeply rooted in the way we think, we cannot see how it touches so many aspects of how we think, speak and live. Yet, the Bible strongly warns that those who do will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. May we see, through the scriptures, just how sinful we are! Our hearts, far from God, so easily follow after things of this world!
Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. Yet it was one of the major themes and glories of the apostolic church.
1 Corinthians 15:14-15 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
Acts 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.
Without this foundation fact, the Jesus raised from the dead on the third day, Christianity loses all hope. We are a new creation because Jesus went to the cross, bled, died and came back to life three days later. Such a basic tenant of our faith should be paramount in our teachings.
The evangelical church has relied more on technology then God.
Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 2:4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power
I can give one obvious example taking place at many larger churches. When a pastor becomes very popular, and the church grows, some churches create ‘satellite’ campuses. There, services happen as normal except when it comes to the sermon. Instead of a live preacher, they simulcast the popular pastor from the central church to the satellite church. Honestly, if one can consider watching a pastor on a big screen in a building as ‘going to church,’ why could they not consider it the same by staying home and watching it on TV?
Regardless, it seems that Jesus and the earlier church relied more on ‘dividing to multiply’ through the power of the Holy Spirit. When groups would get too large (a threshold much lower than what we consider today), the groups would naturally split and the Spirit would raise up more and more teachers and leaders. Since the Bible teaches that all members of the Body have a role in equipping the whole body to do the work of God, they did not think it unusual to have a number of teachers for even a small handful of people. Again, the idea that one man led a huge group of people, providing the teaching, leadership and administration of the body is simply foreign to the New Testament.