Archive for July, 2010

I miss church

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I came to a powerful realization this week in listening to a sermon by Voddie Baucham (pronounced Vody – like Jody). It was at the same time both comforting and very disturbing.  Allow me to explain…

Voddie was contrasting the biblical metaphor of the “family” to the western idea of the institution of church. In the context of the family, he had also discussed the impact that a founding patriarch has on the generations that follow. Speaking of Jesus as the Christian’s founding patriarch in the family of God, he said, “When you are part of the family, you despise the institution. Why? Because it misrepresents our founding patriarch.”  In an instant, I knew specifically why I have such a problem with churches, pastors, and other church leaders (the institution and its representatives).

I realized that I am disgusted with “church” because it misrepresents Jesus.  Today’s church has one mission: draw in more people. To hell with making them effective Christians; to hell with changing our society for the better; to hell with propriety, holiness, and sanctification. And so the end (drawing in people) somehow justifies the means (flashy programs, loud and boisterous music, meaningless feel-good sermons, etc.). Meanwhile, the true, reverent worship factor is swept under the rug. Spiritual disciplines are abandoned. That reverential awe of entering the sanctuary is gone – oh, wait, it is not even called the sanctuary any more, it’s the auditorium, as if we’re going to play basketball or be entertained.

This revelation was comforting in realizing that I was indeed part of the family of God. I can now confidently put an end to my self-doubt and the subtle nagging question that perhaps, somehow I might be the one off base.  (I’m not trying to say I’m perfect, but my disagreement with the institution of church has at last been defined, and my role within that definition is a righteous one.) At the same time, it was disturbing, that in my experience, I have never found a local church that even remotely represents our founding patriarch, Jesus. So I listen to the likes of Alistair Begg, Voddie Baucham, Ken Ham, and Ravi Zacharias, and I consume instruction and teaching from ministries like Answers In Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. I grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but without a local outlet for service.

Where is there a local church in which I can wholeheartedly participate and minister?