I subscribe to a very large variety of newsletters, e-zines, and regular dead-tree magazines, and mostly from different theological perspectives than the ones I happen to subscribe to.  This is because perspective usually comes from looking at the same thing from many different angles – or, to put it like Solomon did, “Where there is not counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” [Proverbs 11:14]  This applies not only in the immediate sense of determining God’s will for ourselves or growing in grace or such-like, but also in the much broader sense of hearing what the Spirit might be saying to the whole Body of Christ, and not just what my particular member of it says.

One of the newsletters I subscribe to comes from a tradition which is quite distant from my own in theological terms: American Vision.  AV is a Calvinist, Postmillennial, Preterist, Reconstructionist concern – and one which produces a lot of good material, even with all that.

The latest missive from AV contained a stellar article on the state of the modern American church:

The real problem with church attendance goes far beyond being simply boring or fun. It even goes far beyond the overused catch phrase of the mega-church movement: “relevant.” Where does the Bible claim that church should be fun or relevant? Or to ask the question a different way: What is the purpose of church? Is it only supposed to be a time when believers gather together each week to drop money in the plate and listen to a self-help sermon? If this is the case we could mail our checks in and watch an episode of Dr. Phil instead. The role of the local church is an important and vital one, but the modern idea of "doing" church has gotten so far away from the biblical understanding that it is no wonder that we must resort to advertising and marketing to remind the community that we exist.

Perhaps church attendance is so low because it has become "fun." "Fun" churches have nothing to offer after the fun wears off. This country needs a good healthy dose of maturity and adulthood and the very place where it should be found is becoming more adolescent and childish. Just as the first Adam was a model of immaturity, the last Adam (Jesus Christ) was the prime example of maturity. The first Adam shirked responsibility, but the last Adam faced it head-on. Jesus should be our example, not Adam. Church attendance should not be the goal, but church faithfulness. If Christ’s Church would become less concerned with how many are not sitting in the pews and actually disciple the ones who are, the empty pews will begin to fill as a natural result. The question is: Does the modern church have enough faith to actually begin doing this?

You can read the whole article (which is very much spot-on) here.

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