Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Less Creeds More Deeds...Again

Years ago I remember listening to a Christian radio station that aired a program called Family Life Today. The program was excellent. It had lots of practical advise for families. But there was one thing about the program that I noticed a lot of para-church ministries were guilty of doing. They were always accusing the local church for not doing enough of whatever topic they were discussing that day. Perhaps it was sex education or "how to do" marriage or drug and alcohol abuse or wife beating or finances or losing weight. Whatever it was, it was the local church's fault for not doing enough.

BPNews has reported this years Southern Baptist Convention's theme.
SBC President Johnny Hunt has selected "LoveLoud -- Actions Speak Louder Than Words" (Matthew 5:16) as the theme for this year's sessions.

Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, told Baptist Press he hopes the LoveLoud emphasis will "challenge our denomination to demonstrate to our communities, our country and around the world the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives and in our churches."

"This world has HEARD much from the church about who we are and what we believe. Too often they don't SEE the church as being a different entity than others in their communities.

"The church simply has to become more of a force to penetrate the darkness that is increasing in our world," Hunt said.
Here is the problem as I see it. It is true that we must demonstrate the love of Christ. I don't know of any Christian that denies this. But this is just more of the same. DO MORE MORE MORE! Can anyone show me a church that preaches the Gospel that is just sitting around on their hands? Where are these churches that are doing nothing?

Now I know what some might say. "I have seen churches that are creedal but don't do much." However, the assumption is that the church is supposed to do everything, and simply because some churches do not wish to burn out the congregation by giving them more "to do" lists is being judgmental.

In fact, after doing a huge study the Willow Creek church has discovered that their most committed church members are wanting to leave. They are literally starving to death and wanting more from the church's preaching and teaching ministry. Willow Creek has concluded that to fix the problem they need to make men "self-feeders". HOW ABSURD IS THAT!

Notice the paragraph,
"This world has HEARD much from the church about who we are and what we believe. Too often they don't SEE the church as being a different entity than others in their communities.
Perhaps it is because we have all seen marriage therapy classes. Yet to do more we must have those in our churches.

Perhaps it is because we are losing weight for Jesus, as if the world has no weight loss programs.

Perhaps it is financial advise classes as if the world has no good financial classes to offer.

I could go on and on, but I hope you get my point. The very people (Johnny Hunt) who are telling Confessional people like me to stop being like the world and get more "penetrating the darkness" are the ones that are wanting to offer more and more programs, which ironically have failed Willow Creek members!

Also in my own church life experience, active churches may be full of members who are theologically shallow. I have heard many times about how "that Jehovah's Witness sure made me realize how much I didn't know my Bible." Have you ever seen someone in an "active" church attempt to offer a class on the book of Hebrews? My goodness, if it isn't in the Daily Bread devotional it is too difficult and "deep". I remember teaching a class on basic Christian doctrine. I had lost all but two adult participants. I was told that what I was teaching was too difficult, and all I did was cover the Apostles and Nicene Creeds!

In conclusion, I am not against older men offering wisdom on how to maintain healthy finances or how to have a better marriage. I am not against a solid deacons ministry which aids the physical needs of the members of the church and also the community around us. But all of this is not going to save one soul.

It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation...not your works.

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