Monday, September 17, 2012

Why We Love The Church

There are a lot "Christian" books out there these days which take delight in speaking ill of the local church.  They say most churches are too judgmental, too narrow minded, too hypocritical, too old school, too conservative, too cliquish, and too boring.  In addition these voices say that the church is not concerned enough about social issues like homelessness, aids, world hunger, genocide, and the environment.  I would say, that some of what they are saying is very true.  One doesn't write a book if there is nothing to write about.  And as the old proverb goes, "if the shoe fits, wear it."  Churches need to look at these criticisms and see if they are true.  We should ask, are their changes that should be made as we repent of sin in the church and seek to be the church Christ has created us to be?  Sadly, the message that many of these "anti-church" books are giving is, "let's all leave the institutional church and really be the church."

I recently read a book called, Why We Love the Church, In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  DeYoung is a 30-something pastor in middle American and Kluck is sportswriter who attends DeYoung's church.  The two have teamed up to write this book as well as the famous Why We're Not Emergent.   In the book they take turns writing chapters.  DeYoung's chapters are more intellectual and more preachy.  Kluck's chapters are more stream of thought and more every day man.  I have to admit, the preacher side of me really liked the DeYoung chapters but the part of me that really wants to know what the average church attender is thinking really appreciated the Kluck chapters.  The point of the book is to say, no, don't abandon the church, it is the bride of Christ.  Be a part of it, pray for it, show grace to other people in it just like you want to be shown grace, be willing to serve and lead the church toward being all that God wants it to be.

Let me give you just a few quotes to stimulate your appetite for this book:

In the first chapter DeYoung gives us some questions to ask when the church is in decline:  Are we believing the gospel, are we relying on the power of the gospel, are we getting the gospel out, are we getting the gospel right, are we adorning the gospel with good works, are we praying for the work of the gospel, are we training up our children in the gospel?

Going to church is not a quaint waste of time, but an essential part of a person's spiritual life and growth.  ~Kluck ~

Again, later in the book DeYoung gives some good questions for church leavers:  Are you rejecting the church or the faith, are you trying to have your cake and eat it too, are you making an idol out of authenticity, are you repeating the mistake of the previous generation?

Church isn't boring because we are not showing enough film clips, or because we play an organ instead of a guitar.  It's boring because we neuter it of it's importance. ~Kluck~

We need the church in visible manifest and sometimes hidden beauty.  We need the church of individuals and institutions.  Most of all, we ought to love the church- in all her organic and organizational mess and glory.  ~DeYoung~

If I could leave you with one thought, it's this:  Go.  Go to church.  Don't go for the coffee, the presentations, the music, or the amenities.  Don't even go for the feelings you may or may not get when you to because, no offense, these feelings may or may not be trustworthy most of the time.  Go for the gospel.  Go for the preaching.  God to be near God's Word... There are many people leaving the church, and supposedly finding God.  But I found Him here, and by His grace, I'll keep finding Him here.  I love my church.  ~Kluck~


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