Have any of you read the book, Revolution by Christian pollster George Barna? I have. The gist of it is very individualistic. And the message seems to be we don't need church....really. Michael Horton, in the current (July/August) issue of Modern Reformation magazine, says that Barna, "has gone so far as to suggest that the institutional church is over." Horton goes on to say that Barna identifies, "a rising demographic, what he calls 'Revolutionaries,'"....
Now pay attention to this part....
"who have moved beyond the established church and chosen to be the church instead."[emphasis mine]
We hear the follwing type of things all the time:
"We are the church, not a building."
"We are the church so wherever we meet is a church."
Here is the problem with this type of thinking. If you study the first century church, what George Barna describes in his book bears no relation. Barna opens his book with two Christian men golfing on a Sunday. They talk about God and maybe even pray together and THAT is their church. But God didn't set up that type of church.
Here is the church that God set up in the first century. It was man during the following centuries who got it all mixed up.
*God set up apostles to bring the gospel to unreached places, not to already established churches (unless asked by those churches) like many "apostles" do today.
*God set up elders, mature men, to run the church. They were NOT appointed by a pastor. They were originally set up by apostles and then after that by the elder board itself.
*God set up pastors who elders appointed, not self-appointed pastors who often turn into dictators.
*God set up deacons, who were directed by the elders to serve the poor and sick in their church. Most churches don't have deacons today. And, other churches help the poor everywhere else but in their own church family. Why? I think it is to brag as to how "loving and caring" they are. When I see this, the FIRST thing I look for is how they help their own. If they are good at helping their own church members, and have resources left over, then by all means they should help the poor in the community. Or, they can encourage their members to help the poor in the community, especially through good organizations like the Salvation Army to avoid individual recepients using the money to buy drugs, alcohol and/or really not get out of their poverty.
*God set up certain events like communion and baptism and marriage. It isn't something done at home with your friends, family or by yourself. It's done in a church family with many people who have gifts (I Cor. 12:8-10; Eph. 4:11). Most people don't have enough people in their sphere with all of those gifts.
*God set up the church to disciple Christians so they could grow in sanctification. Are your friends wise enough to do this for you?
I rest my case. George Barna is just plain wrong IMO.
But sadly, the postmodern generation of Christians today tend to agree with him, not with what God set up. Perhaps we need to stop the clown youth group and actually reach our young people with something Biblically substantial? Da ya think, maybe??
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