Sunday, 23 August 2015

How Churches become entrenched: Two disgruntled families

I think you get the gist by now.

I could do another post on DL Moody.  Or the Huguenots.  Or some of the early missionaries to the British Isles like St Aidan, St Augustine of Canterbury, St Patrick, St David.  I could quote from the writings of our own son of Jarrow, the Venerable Bede or from the writings of the Church Fathers.

There are plenty of websites that cover these things.  My point would be that if you are prepared to do the research, it is possible to find plenty of instances of phenomena like healing, deliverance from demons, gifts of prophecy, words of knowledge and so on which are verified by people widely respected by evangelical and reformed Christians.

And I will be the first to admit that there are many false prophecies, fake healing, dodgy manifestations of the Spirit out there too, as the New Testament warns us.  Of course there are!  When you have something good, someone will try to counterfeit it.  The existence of the fake suggests that the real thing exists as well.

But I thought I would take you over to Shieldcastlehope to discuss how people become entrenched in their positions.

We have two scenarios.

The Robinsons
When the Robinson family leaves Living Springs for Ebenezer, they meet the pastor.
This is what Jim Robinson says:

"Pastor McKinley, I don't think we can take another week there.  They're shallow.  The songs and the sermons are shallow.  I think the pastor copies most of his sermons from YouTube.  They preach an easy-going 'feel-good' gospel.  And they'll let anyone to the front and speak, and I mean anyone, even people with nothing meaningful to say.
They have a food bank, and that's great.  But it's run by a guy who lives on benefits and refuses to work for a living, but he does all sorts for the church.  It's not right!  If he's fit to serve for his church, isn't he fit to work for a living and come off benefits?  There's a guy in the worship band who's living with his girlfriend.  Everyone knows this but nobody says anything because he's a great drummer.  We're trying to teach our children right from wrong, but the church kids are allowed to watch all sorts of unsavoury stuff on the telly. 
What's the difference between them and the world?  I'm beginning to think they're a false church"

What do you think Pastor McKinley is going to say?  What should he say?

The Johnsons
Now, over to the Johnsons.  They leave ERBT for the LSVF.  What's their story?  Here is a summary of what Frank Johnson says:

"Steve.  We can stand it no longer!  The teaching at Ebenezer's great, but it's so dry!  There's a lack of real faith, real joy. 
Yes, they can be friendly, but you can't talk about deep things.  It's so hard to get beyond 'how's your mother's illness? or how is James doing in his GCSEs?'.  They'll talk about theology, but I'd be embarrassed to discuss our recent marital problems with the pastor and certainly not any of the elders.  They just seem to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. 
And our kids keep being told off for running around after the service.  We're thirsty for God Steve, but I find the approach is so intellectual.  Our kids find it boring and the pews are hard.  When the main service is over, people stay for tea and coffee but it's difficult to make any really meaningful friendships. 
And the women... my wife Jan is so intelligent and would love to develop a ministry like counselling, but there's no way of her developing there.  There's tea making and flower arranging.  But is that what the Kingdom of God is all about?  It's like the Bible says somewhere - a form of godliness but denying the power.  Weren't the Pharisees like this?  Obeying all the rules but not really knowing the Lord in any intimate way?  Perhaps it's a false church."

Should Steve and Sharon welcome this family?  Is there anything else they could or should do?

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