9+5 Theses for the 21st Century Church
- FOLLOW THE BIBLE NOT MEN: Traditions flowing from unbiblical practices and decrees of men are followed and believed as authoritative, neglecting the authority of biblical traditions and practices found in the New Testament.
- BIGGER IS NOT BETTER: The Sunday church service, generally consisting of large impersonal gatherings, has become the focal point of what many church congregations strive for, keeping meaningful contact of members with other members minimal at best.
- PEOPLE NOT PROGRAMS: Churches have adopted a program based agenda with strict schedules and events which members may or may not take part in, leading to compartmentalized lives of the members, instead of a life sharing people focus.
- INTERACTION NOT IGNORANCE: For centuries church meetings have basically focused on one specially trained person leading from the front, ignoring a vast resource of life experience sitting in the pews.
- LEADERS NOT LORDS: Since the time of Ignatius there has been a distinct separation of clergy and laity. Higher education required for church leaders has fostered an elitism in the ranks of professional clerics. The Apostles were instructed by the Lord and understood they were no more special than the rest of the church.
- RELATIONSHIPS NOT RITUALS: The Lord’s Supper has been turned into a ritual, which some churches teach has redemptive effects, instead of a full meal to encourage biblical fellowship with the Lord and other members of His body.
- POSSESSORS NOT PROFESSORS: Church “members” who are Christian in name only make up a large segment of the church, true born again believers are failing to “contend earnestly for the faith, once and for all, delivered to the Saints”.
- INVESTORS NOT INDOCTRINATORS: The usual method for discipleship consists of content dumping via predigested literature, instead of the biblical example of life investing.
- PARENTS NOT PROXIES: Churches enlist volunteers and hire people they don’t know to teach our children, voiding the biblical mandate for parents to train their children.
- THE BODY NOT THE BUDGET: Finances are used to meet budgets to keep the operations of the church running, small portions, if any, are used to meet the needs of the body.
- SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT NOT SUCCESSFUL DECISIONS: A worldly business model, encouraged by successful businessmen, is the method used in churches to insure success. The “if it works, it must be OK” pragmatic mentality is rampant, instead of truly allowing the Holy Spirit to direct the matters at hand.
- EDIFYING NOT ENTERTAINING: Entertaining church attendees, whether by elaborate music, eye-pleasing props, emotional rituals, or skilled oratory, is a necessary part of what churches do today, no such thing is instructed in the New Testament.
- PEOPLE NOT PROSPECTS: Evangelism has become a rote procedure seeing people as potential prospects, instead of an every moment life witness causing people to ask us to give a reason for the hope that is in us.
- A DAILY COMPANION NOT A DUST COLLECTOR: Daily reading and study of the Bible is not the priority it should be, devotion to the Word of God was held high among the early believers.
These departures have come about over centuries and has left the church today luke- warm at best. At worst, like the frog-in-the-pot, with the life cooked out of it. May the Lord bring a change in the hearts of biblical believers throughout our world.