If it ain’t broke… It’s what we’ve been telling ourselves for some time now, but I think it’s time to wake up. There is something horribly broken in the church and as Matthew Paul Turner, a fellow blogger and writer, has pointed out, it’s killing the church. The problem I see here is spiritual abuse and if you doubt me, consider the number of comments on the three post series as well as the fact that over 2500 people visited his site this past weekend alone. Friends, spiritual abuse is out there and it’s widespread.
The Church is giving up. A major concern of the church recently has been the disappearance of the twenty-something crowd and the conjecture has widely been that they are giving up because the church isn’t “cool” enough for this demographic. What if we turned this argument around and said that many of these people are only giving up because the Church has already given up on them? What if these twenty-somethings who were kids raised in the Church are just now old enough to understand the term spiritual abuse and associate their youth group with the Catholic Church of the middle ages?
“He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.` For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’” — Luke 3:7–9
We don’t have the market cornered on God. Just like the Jews in the above passage, God doesn’t kowtow to our every whim. We don’t have some special connection to God that enables us to hear Him more clearly than anyone else. For that matter, neither does our denomination nor does our church staff. Therefore, we’re all fumbling around this giant rock, lost as the next person. How can we turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed upon souls daily? How can we assume that our pastors always know best? Have we become so naive that we once again allow the clergy to be our intercessors to God? What then did Christ do on the cross?
“Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” — Romans 12:2
Taste the fruit. Have you stopped recently to see the fruit you’re bearing? Have you put down your Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. long enough to inspect that soul of yours and examine the fruit you’re producing? While it may look good, is it producing fruit in others or helping them produce fruit of their own? This is a critical question in righting this ship. If we cannot examine the fruit in our own lives, how can we hope to help others? How can we help our church staff in discerning the fruits of their lives and decisions?
Read your Bible. We live in a consumerist society built on instant and tolerance. Therefore, we don’t have time to sit down to a half hour quiet time reading God’s word everyday. We don’t have time to be studying doctrine and theology. We don’t want to learn doctrine or theology because it’s intolerant and overbearing. This is where this all falls apart, friends. If we do not know, then how can we fix anything? If we don’t take the time, then we’re sabotaging our own lives. While accomplishing this, we’re attacking others as they suffer our bitter fruit. We then have pastors and ministers overstepping the bounds of authority, but no one is there to challenge them, because no one knows better. The flock has been brainwashed by their own ignorance as they cannot measure the Church’s actions against the Scripture they don’t know. Then the Church withers and dies. Allow me to reiterate: the Church, she dies.
What we face today is a dire problem. We cannot hide any longer and pretend it isn’t, because we’ve been noticing a downward spiral in the Church’s attendance for some time now. As dire as it is, the solution isn’t difficult in the least. It merely requires us to follow as we are called to do. It requires us to slow down and reevaluate. It pleads for us to open our Bibles and read as if our eternal lives depended on it. It begs us to reflect on how we follow and what the byproducts of that has been. Most of all, it calls us to be transformed, concerned with loving God and those around us with a love worthy of a child of God. It leads us to acceptance of all through the mystique of grace. Friends, we cannot claim ignorance any longer thrusting our heads in the sand, saying, “If it ain’t broke…”