Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why I Don't Like Church

I've had 30 years of church experience; from megachurch to small church to house church. I've tried different size churches because I thought the size of the church might have a lot to do with the quality of the church. But after seeing that all structures (large and small) have their weakness, I decided that quality of a church has more to do with its attitude than its size.

One mistake that churches often make is in thinking that their purpose is to dispense information. In their mind they have the truth, and since Jesus said that truth sets us free, then all they have to do is educate the ignorant with the truth of the Bible.

But that simple mindset starts a snowball effect of legalism and hurt. This kind of thinking implies that we (those with the truth) are right and everyone else is wrong. People need to listen to us because we have the truth. If people don't listen to us, they hate the truth and are bad. Because they are bad we can exclude them and openly ridicule them. See what I mean? This happens in churches all the time. And that's why I don't like church (at least when I see this happen).

Lots of people turn up at Cedarbrook after experiencing some kind of church abuse. I've heard all kinds of awful stories about how churches have treated people who didn't believe right or act right. I'm amazed that these people even consider returning to church.

The purpose of the church isn't to dispense information. The purpose of the church is to love the world like Jesus did. Jesus said that he didn't come to judge the world but to save it. He laid down his life for the world.

When the world sees us laying down our lives in order to serve others then they will know that we have the truth. They'll know that we have the truth because they will see that we ARE set free. We've been set free from our independence and selfishness allowing us to love others. When they see that, maybe then they'll listen to what we have to say. But I don't think too many people are listening to the church that is merely pushing information.


Erich Abraham said...

Yes, such is the curse of ignorance - you pontificate at services. I call this presenting the "Behavioral Gospel." Churches who dictate the truth as they have received it through a thorough indoctrination from a theological vent, lead people into living life according to the LAW, not GRACE.
Pietism becomes the way of living. Freedom in Christ requires a great deal of accountability to selflessness, not arrogance in knowledge. In a jungle missionaries would tell their converts to shun any missionary they have not trained them, they do not have the truth. These saem peoplepronounce that Catholics are going to hell for some of their teachings. The real issue is that churches are trying to control their constituents for a physical not spiritual purpose.

dane said...

"The purpose of the church is not to dispense information..." This is not in itself a comprehensive enough principle. Paul said that God was pleased to save those who believe through the preaching of the gospel. The Kerygma cannot be left out. True, it must be lived out. But there is a ditch on both sides of the road! To say that "truth" or "information" is not as important as the lifestyle of the messenger is in itself an equal, though opposite error. We simply must have both. People are not saved by watching your life. They open up to your message by watching your life. There must be a proclamation of the truth before anyone gets saved.

I will concede to the author that our generation has been long on proclamation and short on demonstration!

Remy said...

And it's your last concession that is my entire point. My criticism is meant to bring balance to a problem, not amputate the problem! To be more accurate I should have said, "The SOLE purpose of the church is not to dispense information." Telling others is easier than showing and we have to hold each other accountable to not slip into that kind of laziness.

Moosemusicman said...

You're right when you say the purpose of church isn't to dispense information. But it's part of the role churches must play. If they don't dispense information, and then have structure in place so that people can mature in Christ, how are they supposed to mature, by osmosis? just curious.

Remy Diederich said...

Oh,yes, that's true. The problem comes when we dispense information thinking that knowledge alone will save/change us. Transformation by God's Spirit has to be our ulitmate goal.

But, osmosis is not a bad thing either. It's the more organic/natural way. The modern church has used programs and structure to achieve their end. That works...some times. But imbedding someone in a transformational community is more biblical in my opinion. Now, granted, that's the ideal and doesn't always happen...isn't always possible. But if I had to choose between osmosis (mentoring in community) vs. a program, I'd choose osmosis. rd