Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Irrelevancy of Mainline Churches, Continued

Drew was kind enough to continue the conversation about the "irrelevancy of mainline churches" on his blog in this post. Here is my reply:


Thanks for your reply. First, a word about language. I prefer and use the language of transformation, not salvation. If I substitute that word I can agree that "we all need it, the nation needs it, the world needs it." The church, in my view is in the business of transforming people and structures.

Now, a question: a self-professed pagan joins my church and over the course of a number of years experiences profound personal and social transformation. But she never becomes a "Christian." Is Christ behind this transformation? Am I failing in my duty as a Christian pastor to present the essence of the Christ event?

I get a little edgy with the notion that the world would fall to pieces but for the grace of God. Sounds too much like a world dangling by a spider's thread over the fiery furnace. I think the church is unique because it invites transformation and discipleship of people and is clear to say that this is why we are here.

As far as attracting people, if we believe Christ offers something significant and that the world needs transformation, then I fail to see the problem with talking about ways to reach those people.

I would argue that the US is becoming both more pluralistic religiously and more secular. Perhaps secular isn't the best word, maybe profane, I don't know. But my point would be that even Christians live in a mostly non-enchanted, non-magical, world. We live most of our day as if we believe that God does not exist. Our worldview is largely secular.

I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph.

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