Thursday, September 09, 2010

So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore? (Part 1)

I love sitting down with a warm cup of coffee to read a good book. Mostly I read books by authors I like and agree with. However, it can also be enjoyable to read books by authors you don’t know or who you don’t agree with. This can help strengthen your own faith and beliefs. That is the case for me with the book So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore?.

At first I liked the emphasis in this book on life being all about living in a fresh relationship with God the Father and about hearing and responding to Him daily. That is so important and more Christians need to live like that. However, there comes a point where the discerning can see that the author(s) are trying to push their own agenda to the forefront in this book of what church should look like and be. At first they lead you into thinking that maybe house church is the answer, but that notion is quickly beat down. So, what is the answer to church? You can most clearly see that by looking at one of the main characters of this book, the apostle John.

The character that represents the apostle John is a drifter. He comes and goes as he pleases. He’s not connected locally to anything. No roots. He’s a sojourner who shows up unexpectedly to offer his wisdom and advice on how things should be done. You can challenge him all you want but he will have an answer to your questions. So, it’s no surprise that John has a dim view of the way church is done today. Church to John is all about hearing and responding to the Father. Sounds good right? Well, because of that John thinks you don’t need to attend a local fellowship that has worship services every Sunday at 10am. You just have to be listening for the voice of God and be obedient. Maybe God will speak to you in a coffee shop while with friends and then you can share that message with them and *poof* you have just had church. Maybe you’re at the bar and you start talking to someone about God’s love and *poof* you have just been in church.

Do you see anything wrong with this view?

Next week we’ll talk more about problems and implications of this view of church.


Angela Morgan said...

At first when I read the book, I loved it. It led me to think more deeply about the purposes of fellowship and the strong emphasis I place on that 10am Sunday service, as if IT is my salvation, when it is not. Church is the body of believers, all around the country and the world. It is sharing with that body, and sharing the love of God with others.

However, now that I've read your response to the book, I'm not sure. I liked the way the book challenged my perceptions of what church truly is. It is not that service, or the building, or the sermon. None of those are bad, they're just not the main point. But is it downplaying those things too much?

My question for you, Tim, is this: what does Jesus teach us about this topic? Did he have any roots? Did he tell us that we should be connected locally somewhere? With the same people every week? I'm asking not because I want to disagree with you, but because I truly don't know the answer and would like to hear your thoughts.

Tim Sheets said...

Great response Angela and even greater questions!!!

I think you have given me some ammo for next week's post. Plus, I might have to share a bit of your response in this week's post.

T <><