Notes from class

Notes from my dads class taught by Micky Connely. I found it very interesting.

4  “Isms” that can kill the church.

1. Liberalism
At the heart of liberalism is replacing scripture as the inspired word of God, and thus authoritative, with the notion that it is simply man’s thoughts about God and thus interesting but optional. Everything else, God, the gospel, etc. falls from there. Jesus is simply a good teacher and moral example. The gospel is lost and the focus of church life becomes helping people become more ethical, happier and more fulfilled, helping the poor and underprivileged, social justice, etc. None of these are bad in themselves, but woefully inadequate apart from the gospel.

EDMUND CLOWNEY – “IF THE CHURCH RATHER THAN CHRIST BECOMES THE CENTER OF OUR DEVOTION, SPIRITUAL DECAY HAS BEGUN. A DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH THAT DOES NOT CENTER ON CHRIST IS SELF-DEFEATING AND FALSE. BUT JESUS SAID TO THE DISCIPLES WHO CONFESSED HIM, ‘I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH.’ TO IGNORE HIS PURPOSE IS TO DENY HIS LORDSHIP. THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRIST’S COMING INCLUDES THE GOOD NEWS OF WHAT HE CAME TO DO: TO JOIN US TO HIMSELF AND TO ONE ANOTHER AS HIS BODY THE NEW PEOPLE OF GOD.”

2. Formalism
Orthodox in doctrine but without passion and personal application and involvement; meetings that weren’t impacting life; studies that show that the ethical views and behavior of those claiming to be Christians and church goers does not significantly different than those who don’t. Another study found that only 6-10% of those who claimed to be Christians were “highly spiritually committed”.

ELTON TRUEBLOOD (QUOTED BY BILL HULL, THE DISCIPLE MAKING PASTOR, 19) – “PERHAPS THE GREATEST SINGLE WEAKNESS OF THE CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS THAT MILLIONS OF SUPPOSED MEMBERS ARE NOT REALLY INVOLVED AT ALL, AND WHAT IS WORSE, DO NOT THINK IT STRANGE THAT THEY ARE NOT.”

3. Consumerism
Attempts to make the church relevant rob it of one or more aspects of its essential character.
• People become customers that need to be attracted and kept.
• Too much focus on being big.
• Its not that these churches aren’t trying to proclaim the gospel the medium often
overwhelms the message. And slowly but surely the method subtly begins to shape the message. Relevance without roots.

MARK DEVER (NINE MARKS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH, 11) – “THE PURPOSE OF TOO MANY EVANGELICAL CHURCHES HAS FALLEN FROM ONE OF GLORIFYING GOD SIMPLY TO GROWING LARGER, ASSUMING THAT THE GOAL, HOWEVER ACHIEVED, MUST GLORIFY GOD. ONE PROBLEM, THEOLOGICALLY AND EVEN PRACTICALLY, WITH SUCH A LOWERING OF OUR VISION IS THE SELF-DEFEATING PRAGMATISM THAT RESULTS: IF THE AIM OF THE CHURCH IS TO GROW, THE WAY TO DO IT IS TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL GOOD. AND WHEN PEOPLE DISCOVER THAT THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO FEEL GOOD, THEY LEAVE THE CHURCH THEY NO LONGER NEED. THE RELEVANT CHURCH IS SOWING THE SEEDS OF ITS OWN IRRELEVANCE, AND LOSING ITS IDENTITY TO BOOT.”

4. Individualism
Just Jesus and me. People see all the problems with the church and give up on it all together. Or they tailor their beliefs to fit themselves. “My God…”
One persons response to a Gallup poll on the church – “I am my own church”
The pluralistic, post-modern way of thinking.

BRUCE MILNE – “SCRIPTURE KNOWS NOTHING OF SOLITARY RELIGION. NO ONE CAN BE RECONCILED TO GOD WITHOUT BEING RECONCILED TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD AMONG WHOM HIS EXPERIENCE OF GOD’S GRACE IMMEDIATELY SETS HIM. THUS SOTERIOLOGY (THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION) IS INDISSOLUBLY BOUND UP WITH ECCLESIOLOGY (THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH).”

5. The Emergent Church
Corporate Individualism
• Protest – we don’t want to do things the traditional (read failed) way
• Conversation – a reluctance to claim absolute truth (David Wells: Studied Uncertainty) Faith doesn’t come through conversation alone but through the hearing of the word/
preaching of the word.
• Missional – living the gospel in a way that is socially/culturally relevant (David Wells:
Courage to Be Protestant – Page 92)
6. The “church leavers” movement (de-churched)
• Spirituality vs. Religion (relationship without rules)
• Organic vs. Institutional (two Christians having a conversation is the church…) • Buildings, pastors, sermons, structure are unbiblical and unnecessary

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