In the 70s the front burner of debate was the authority of elders. The church was hot over it...and many congregations split. In the 80's the contest was over workshops. The church was hot over it...and many congregations split. In the 90s the revisiting of the Holy Spirit topic came into focus. The church was hot over it...and many switched congregations one more time. In 00's the challenge was over unity. The church was hot over it...and many congregations split over unity. In the 10's the issue is women's role and instrumental music. The church is hot over it...and more on both side slip through the back door.
We have a problem, church, and it isn't any of the above. We are reaping the weeds of a displaced doctrine which is the cure-all for every ailment; past, present, and future. The true church has lost its love for the true God. Our obsession with knowing Truth has betrayed us by leading us into a zone of no God; but much law.
I speak from personal awareness. As a preaching minister I had a respect for God; but basically no relationship with Him. Rarely would I pray. Never would I allow Him to talk to me for our doctrine said that was out. I believed it...gladly. I didn't want to be one of "them".
I can't tell you when it happened. Probably when we quit singing songs at church and began to be called to worship (I speak only of my own experience for others are surely not that way). I noticed a gradual imagination of God's presence, involvement, and leadership. I began to visit with Him at unofficial times...throughout the day.
It is my conviction that the church is in a bit of a quandary today for many seem to be lethargic in their participation. Not in our classes or terribly late, there does not seem to be the attention more in the church had in years past. Too much grace is claimed as the culprit. I don't think so.
From reading church history, and living in it once converted, I think the church fundamentally did not possess a love-infatuated relationship with God. Instead we had a guilt one. Our people (me included) were motivated by guilt. Once we refrained from our harsh tongue-lashings and warnings in public settings, the result seems to be a clear let-down.
The solution to this doctrinal challenge is that the church may need to go back to Commandment 101 and learn to dearly, frantically, perpetually LOVE GOD. Love for Him is our motivation. If we don't love Him we will not respond to the next command of 102; love our neighbors. Love for Him will drive us to love others.
The solution is not to restore guilt among us. The answer is to check the heartbeat of the true church. It could be it has coasted on exteriors for decades while being quite unclean for a lack of love for the Father on the inside.