The Retreat of the Church

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state of the church today. If you’re like me, you look at the modern church and you realize that something’s wrong. We’re not living our faith the way our forefathers did. The early church fathers died because they affirmed the Trinity. Most churchgoers don’t know the basics about i. You can find Phillips, Craig, and Dean selling in Christian music stores. You can find Tommy Tenney and T.D. Jakes. All of these are Oneness Pentecostals that deny the Trinity. I’ve even seen John Shelby Spong on sale. Ever read any of his stuff?

What has happened? Our church has become filled with emotionalism and people being moved entirely by feelings. Now I’m not against emotions and feelings, but too often today, we have the tail wagging the dog instead of the other way around. We are to be people of the truth. Not people that have the truth change based on our feelings.

Also, do we really live it? Do the teachings of Christ really play a key role in our lives? Do we bother to understand what is going on in a biblical text? I’ve spoken much about the concept of feeling led because I believe this is a key role. In fact, this kind of attitude is drawing us away from Scripture and focusing us on our experiences.

I think that unfortunately, the church retreated. My roommate here used the term just now when we were discussing this of non-overlapping Magisteria. It’d been one I’d thought of as well. If you don’t know, it comes from Stephen Jay Gould. He said that science would deal with facts of the real world, and religion would deal with emotions and feelings and that “less real” stuff.

In fact, we seem to have often divorced the life of the mind and the life of the heart. I know of a number of Christians who think that we shouldn’t think about our faith and that our minds are evil and need to be bypassed. Friends. This is not a Christian view of the intellect. Especially since God is the God of all truth and truth is an endeavor of the mind.

Around the 1800’s, we had Charles Finney coming through with mass revivals. People got an emotional charge, but unfortunately, they had no root. There will be more about this as we go on of course. However, I see this as an indication that emotionalism has taken a hold of the church.

One such area hit was the Burned-Over District of New York. There were several people who had a spiritual interest in things then, but they had no root. Two groups rose out of that area. One of them was the Mormons and the other was the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Where were the people there doing the discipling and training the people in truth?

When we read the great confession in Matthews 16, we read that the gates of Hell will not stand up against the church. Friends. Be sure that you know this. Gates are defensive tools. Hell is not to be taking the offensive in this fight. We are. We are to go out into battle with our weapons ready to fight the good fight and we are assured of victory!

So why aren’t we fighting?

I suppose we’ll get to discuss that together.

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