Tuesday, May 17, 2011


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.


Sherry Holmes said...

A powerful piece, Terry. I agree with most of what you've said. I would add that an important thing that the church needs is to do less "doing" and more "being". We've somehow lost the focus of fixing our eyes on Jesus in exchange for fixing our eyes on tradition, programs and "rules"...emphasizing more of "what you know" than "whom you know (Jesus)".

Jesus is "the Word"...the bible is not! It's not that the bible isn't important (it certainly is), but we would do well to do more following Jesus than the bible because we tend to have made the written word our "law" and from it, we make rules...which bind people rather than release them to enjoy God's love.

Jesus brought us freedom, not bondage. That freedom is God's gift to us, through grace, and it is meant for each of us in whatever way He "gifts" us.

Keep teaching us that there better ways on our journeys of faith. The "Holy Spirit makes no earthly sense" indeed...and we would do well to do more listening to His guidance and living in the Spirit.

Just some random thoughts and things I'm exploring on my journey...

Anonymous said...

I read your blog regularly and have used some of your posts as bulletin articles since I edit our local church bulletin. I find your writings refreshing, encouraging, and thought provoking. I tell my readers that they may not always agree with articles I share with them [I don't always agree myself!] but they are shared to cause us to think, restudy, reaffirm or sometimes change our minds when needed. Keep up the good work, my brother. It is appreciated!

----a faithful reader