I love the church

I realize that this blog is too often dedicated to critiques of the church, and I do not want to give the impression that I am just a bitter, angry man who sees only gloom and doom for Christianity and thus confines himself in the isolated realm of academic theology in order to escape such problems. Far from it! I love the church. I honestly do. If I am rather brash at times, it is only because I think we Christians could afford to be so more than we usually are. I think the Christian church could use a prophetic revival, but in a way that serves the worldwide communion. If I have too often tended toward judgment rather than affirmation, than I sincerely apologize.

That said, I wholeheartedly believe the church is in a state of crisis. Here are some of the major problems that I think the church in the 21st century needs to address:
  1. The temptation of relevancy: how can the church refuse the urge to be relevant and yet speak to this culture?
  2. The temptation of power: how can the church follow the example of the Suffering Servant and yet speak boldly?
  3. The temptation of inwardness: how can the church resolutely affirm the reign of God in all areas of life and deny the western attempt to keep “religion” locked in the inner recesses of human experience?
  4. The temptation of success: how can the church remain free from the sexiness of success (see any megachurch) and yet produce a community that thrives and truly does something in the world?
  5. The temptation of size: how can the church deny our culture’s worship of numbers and yet also pursue the growth of the church and the “making disciples of all nations”?
  6. The temptation of individualism: how can the church seek order and tradition without denying the gifts and needs of individuals?
  7. The temptation of experientialism: how the church instruct and teach people in the faith without turning education into a purely intellectual enterprise, without denying the experience of the faith, and without succumbing to culture’s segregation between knowledge and feeling, between knowledge and action?
  8. The temptation of fundamentalism: how can the church stress the fundamental doctrines of the faith without becoming fanatic, exclusivist, and arrogant?
  9. The temptation of liberalism: how can the church stress the liberality of the gospel and call to serve the needs of the world without capitulating to the demands of society?
  10. The temptation of idolatry: how can the church embrace the manifold nature of life in all its richness (economic, political, aesthetic, intellectual, moral) without divinizing any of these created things and thus undermining the glory that belongs to God alone?


byron smith said…
Great questions. Looking forward to your new series: Answering the Top Ten Questions Faced by the Church... :-)
I think that might very well be a possibility. I have another series in store on Intelligent Design and the relation between theology and science. That won't be a very long one, though.
Halden said…
I trust you will be taking intelligent desgin (at least as most proponents present it) to task?
Not only to task. If I do it right, I hope to beat it into submission. With love and grace, of course. :)
byron smith said…
Submission? So you think it deserves to live? :-)
Ah, well said! But I'm only being realistic. ID is sexy enough for post-creationists that it will remain alive and well for some time, I imagine.
Anonymous said…
I personally find it highly amusing that you could only sustain your positive outlook for a paragraph, then straight back to criticizing.. mind you, I'm just as critical, but it is pretty ironic.
Anonymous said…
LOL! Nice one Mr. "The Miner"!
Anonymous said…
I'd be interested to hear how you think the Well is dealing with these temptation areas - all very good points BTW.
Well, to be honest, I was writing this post when I had to get a ride, and so I sent off the post before writing a final paragraph expressing my positive assessment of the church today. Honestly. I meant to say more.

I'll get around to saying more later.
Halden said…
I'll look forward to that. I've enjoyed befuddling people on all sides of that supid creation and origins debate for some time. Anytime we try to build a "bridge" between theology and science we're in big trouble as far as I'm concerned. But now I'm tipping my hand...
D.W., I never doubted your love for the church. It showed in every line of your lover's quarrell.