Friday, May 8, 2009

Who needs it?

Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck collaborated on Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be, a book that managed to be both informative and entertaining. Reading it made me a fan. Any author who can teach truth clearly while making the learning process painless is worth following. DeYoung's next book [solo this time] was Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc., another short, wise, helpful book. Now, co-authors again, DeYoung and Kluck offer Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion, to be published in July. I'll get this one, too.

At his blog [also well worth your attention] DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed, DeYoung excerpts from the book's first chapter, describing some of the reasons for dissatisfaction with the Church. Briefly:
The Missiological. Many Christians feel like the church just doesn’t work any more. .... There are a host of problems in society that we are ignoring. The church has turned a blind eye to the community around her and is making no impact on the world. Face it, many people say, the church tried and failed.

The Personal. Personal objections to the church are frequently voiced by both insiders and outsiders. The church, in the eyes of many outsiders, especially the young, is filled with hypocritical, anti-women, anti-gay, judgmental, close-minded, bubble-dwelling, acolytes for the Republican Party. ....

Many church insiders have an equally negative impression. They feel personally wounded or let down by the church. They find the church legalistic, oppressive, and hurtful. .... Many in the church silently, or not so silently, feel like the Sunday services are a drag, the sermons are fluffy and uninspiring, and the music is pre-packaged. The whole thing is, for some, a big, repetitive, soul-shriveling show. Who needs it?

The Historical. According to some disgruntled Christians, the church as we know is an unbiblical, historical accident at best and a capitulation to paganism at worst. .... Surely history demonstrates that the church has, for the most part, been an embarrassing failure. Let’s say we’re sorry and move on to some other way of building the kingdom.

The Theological. .... Most Christians will acknowledge that “church” is an important New Testament concept and that Jesus loves the church and shed his blood for it. But for many, “church” is just plural for Christian. All you need for church is two or three people who worship Christ to be together in the same place. .... The more we can move away from all the man-made doctrines, rituals, and structures of church as we know it, the closer we will be to truly knowing God in all his unconditional, untamed, mysterious, relational love. [more]
As the title of the book makes clear, DeYoung and Kluck "love the church" and DeYoung promises to offer some of their responses to the criticisms in the months ahead.

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