Survival.

The challenge we face, as people and churches, in our fight to survive:

“The ‘ultimate concern’ of most church members is not the worship and service of Christ in evangelistic mission and social compassion, but rather survival and success in their secular vocation. The church is a spoke on the wheel of life connected to the secular hub. It is a departmental sub-concern, not the organizing center of all other concerns. Church members who have been conditioned all their lives to devote themselves to building their own kingdom and whose flesh naturally gravitates in that direction anyway find it hard to invest much energy in the kingdom of God.

They go to church once or twice a week and punch the clock, so to speak, fulfilling their ‘church obligation’ by sitting passively and listening critically or approvingly to the pastor’s teaching. Sometimes with great effort they can be maneuvered into some active role in the church’s program, like a trained seal in a circus act, but their hearts are not fully in it. They may repeat the catchwords of the theology of grace, but many have little deep awareness they and other Christians are ‘accepted in the beloved.’ Since their understanding of justification is marginal or unreal – anchored not to Christ but to some conversion experience in the past or to an imagined present state of goodness in their lives – they know little of the dynamic of justification.

Their understanding of sin focuses upon behavioral externals which they can eliminate from their lives by a little will power and ignores the great submerged continents of pride, covetousness and hostility beneath the surface. Thus their pharisaism defends them both against full involvement in the church’s mission and against full subjection of their inner lives to the authority of Christ.”
—Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Renewal, page 204-05.

Questions » How do you see this in your own heart? In your community?

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