“But the would not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclination of their hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah the prophet, chapter 7, verse 24

In the May 2008 issue of Touchstone journal, there was an essay titled, “The Way We Weren’t: Churches in the Fifties Were Filled, But Were They Faithful?” (pp 24-28). The author, William Murchison, asks a very important question in this essay by quoting a character, Jack Burden, from a novel by Robert Penn Warren, All The King’s Men. He asks:

What you mean is that it was a fine, beautiful time back then, but if it was such a God-damned fine, beautiful time, why did it turn into this time which is not so damned fine and beautiful if there wasn’t something in that time which wasn’t fine and beautiful? Answer that one. (As quoted by Murchison.)

Many lament the days gone by although Solomon warned us that is not a good idea when he wrote, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10) (I had a woman ask me the other day, I kid you not, ‘why don’t we sing more of our songs [meaning hymns accompanied by the piano and organ] on Sundays?’) Still, it’s one thing to look back and learn, and quite another to look back and lust.

I’ve been thinking about all the ‘oh, the way things used to be’ lamenting I hear from the mouths of people (and especially from the two generations just ahead of mine who think it no small thing to run preachers out of town until they find one who will say what their itching ears want to hear or sing the songs their great great grandparents wrote while sitting around Ellis Island or while still back in the mother-land) and I’ve concluded that it is just so much that: Lust. But if those days were so wonderful, so well done, what happened?

Return to Spurgeon! Return to Luther! Return to Calvin! Return to the Peter! Return to Paul! Return to Campbell! Return to Stone! Return to…how about we press on to Jesus?

Murchison concludes by writing:

Are the 1950s in any way a useful model for American Christians of the twenty-first century? Would we like to go back? Would it be better, for instance, if the movie moguls returned to producing religious epics like The Ten Commandments, with their earnest depictions of the power of God? Would the renewal of prayers before football games in any way strengthen the fabric of public life?

In weighing such considerations, we could take a cue from Jack Burden: If all these occasions, these commitments, made for such a fine, beautiful time, what happened? (Not, as we certainly understand, that any one generation ever wields power enough to bind the next generation.) What happened was society’s silent withdrawal of consent from propositions—the sanctity of unborn life, the importance of church attendance, the scandal of illegitimacy, among others—once regarded as self-evident, now seen as irrelevant to the good life.

As we continue sorting out the church in our day, or in common parlance as we are ‘Reformed and always Reforming’, we can learn from them (previous generations of church folk) what humility is and is not, what justice is and is not, what faithfulness is and is not, what church is and is not, what service is and is not,  and in so doing we will find ourselves moving forward, not backward, as the church. Even Paul said: Forgetting what is behind and pressing onward. (I thought about all this while reading Isaiah 58 this morning.)

If the church of the fifties wasn’t precisely the kingdom of God on earth, even less so, in various ways, is the church that followed it. A church—any church—unduly proud of its position and achievements is a church ripe for remaking in the image of its Sovereign Lord. (Murchison, 28)

In this thread, I am asking: What do you think a future generation will say about our generation of the church? What is good, what is bad, what will be left, what will be retained? When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith among us? Why are some so hell-bent on returning the church to the days of yesterday instead of pressing forward, ‘further up and further in’?

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89 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

We are not of those who compare ourselves with ourselves.

While I agree with the overall point of the article, I remain mystifed why some feel the necessity to use corase language, especially language that misuses the name of God. To what purpose does that serve? Even if the Holy Spirit agrees with the issue, I firmly believe He is grieved with careless language.

That is one thing that probably did not have a prominent place in the 50s church and that we should have seen as worthy of emulating.

Signed,

The Language Police

2   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

After perusing William Murchison’s blog and quickly reading some of his inventory of mostly political Limbaughesque articles, I now understand his language and give him the benefit of the doubt, if you know what I mean. :cool:

3   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

I don’t know what you mean. And I’m not sure how that answers any of the questions I posed. I don’t think, either, that his language is particularly rough or that he has used God’s name in a particularly unhelpful way. But that’s a matter of opinion. I’m more interested in the content of the post and the questions it generated.

In this thread, I am asking: What do you think a future generation will say about our generation of the church? What is good, what is bad, what will be left, what will be retained?

4   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Before I weigh in on these questions, I must agree that I feel it unhelpful to quote blasphemy. The same could have been accomplished with an ‘explecative deleted’ (much like the Nixon transcripts). Whether you are offended or not, Jerry, it offends me, because it is a curse against the God who gave us life. It is an inappropriate, casual use of God’s name, and it does not belong being quoted by a Christian.

I will answer these questions of the visible church, what I call Samaritan Christianity; a bad reflection of the true, invisible church. In other words: The Church of the Tares.

What do you think a future generation will say about our generation of the church? I think, like every other generation, they will first try to escape this generation and do something a little different to place the lipstick on a pig. There will be new seeker friendly services, new ways of syncretism, new outreach, new standards. They will look back, like we do, and see nothing of any real value and they will try to reinvent the wheel, like we do.

What is good: There are many teachers and preachers that do it right, preaching from the word exegetically using a proper hermeneutic. There are many new and more accurate translations of scripture. There is worldwide evangelism that is happening. There is a turn back to the ancient church, that is the one of the first century, where the proclamation of the Word is going forth to the ends of the earth in many more languages. We take seriously the call of God and use technology to reach unreached people.

what is bad, The neo orthodox and liberal approach to scripture. The new emergence, emerging from the scripture and into the opinions and the feelings of people. The departure from orthodox faith and practice, the acceptance of all lifestyles as acceptable. The elevating of people who attack scripture as Christian leaders. The similarity between the church and the world. The anthropomorphism of God, the creating of god in our image that fits our world.

what will be left, Worship in the church, gathering together of believers on Sundays, Services that are exclusively Christian, the music of today, the Holy Spirit.

what will be retained? questions about everything, syncretism, opinion-driven Christianity, entertainment-centered services, lectio divina, contemplative prayer, and other touchy-feely garbage to manufacture a feeling, because the Holy Spirit will be left behind

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith among us? In the underground, invisible church, where the scripture is elevated, Jesus Christ is glorified, the Holy Spirit indwells believers, and God’s Word is the standard of faith and practice, there will be faith found. In the Samaritan Church, the Church of the Tares, there will be no faith found, at least not saving faith.

Why are some so hell-bent on returning the church to the days of yesterday instead of pressing forward, ‘further up and further in’? Because despite the fact that the visible church has never been perfect, we have not been going the right direction. We have not, as an institution been going the direction of further up and further in, in fact, we have gone further down and father out, accepting the pagan practices of the world around us and the sin which so easily entangles to come into the church. We want to go back to the good old days in the hope that we will be able to draw nearer to God, and this garbage that is emerging and seeker sensitive would be thrown out.

We want a new reformation, a return to the ancient church of the first century, a return to Christ.

You may begin assasinating my character now.

5   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

It’s been my contention for a while now that there is an up side to our (general) culture’s flight from cultural-Christianity and Christendom.

Sure, in the ’50’s there may have been a lot more bodies in the buildings, but there was a stigma about not being there… and that’s not necessarily a good thing since it produces “show -Christians.”

Now, when people gather, particularly those below 35, they do so out of desire not cultural pressure.

Generally speaking…

6   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Very good, John.

I take aim at your character from the grassy knoll. :)

7   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

…it offends me, because it is a curse against the God who gave us life. It is an inappropriate, casual use of God’s name, and it does not belong being quoted by a Christian.

A curse against God? How is this a curse against God? Pastorboy you amaze me! I have seen God’s name abused in much much worse ways by our favorite ADM’s… yet you still say “When I see something that meeds addressed [in their blogs], I will.”

Furthermore, I might argue that “God” is not a name anyway, therefore it does not fit the “Do not take God’s name in vain” prohibition… that said, I still say I’ve seen much worse on ADM sites.

8   nc    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

actually…on this particular piece of colorful metaphor…

It’s coarse, but it’s not blasphemous. Why? It’s not “against God”…it actually is a curse that enjoins God’s eternal destruction against another object, person, etc. It is not a “damning of God”…

just wanted to be clear if we are going to critique something.

;)

oh…be careful everyone…simple disagreement still equals character assassination…

oy…

9   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Pastorboy, you sound like you’d fit in well with Harold Camping…

10   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

#7

You are kidding, right Neil?

The commandment is “Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord your God in vain”

That is to be used casually. In our society, we use the name God to describe our God, Yahweh, the Lord almighty. We use the name Jesus , Jesus Christ, etc. to describe God the Son.

The casual use offends me, and I believe it offends God.

Where have the ADM’s used blasphemy, using God’s name as a curse word? Give examples.

And this is not what the post is about, BTW

11   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Who is Harold Camping?

Regardless, NC, it is a curse, it is a casual use of God’s name, it does not give the name of God due honor and respect it deserves.

I have not seen any assasination yet, NC.

12   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Because despite the fact that the visible church has never been perfect, we have not been going the right direction. We have not, as an institution been going the direction of further up and further in, in fact, we have gone further down and father out, accepting the pagan practices of the world around us and the sin which so easily entangles to come into the church. We want to go back to the good old days in the hope that we will be able to draw nearer to God, and this garbage that is emerging and seeker sensitive would be thrown out.

Of course I would disagree. For all the great things accomplished by evangelicals in the first-half of the 20th Century it was also awash in…

1 – modernism
2 – racism
3 – ethnocentricism
4- nationalism
5 – legaism

Your view that things are so much worse is based on a naive view of history and a sloppy caricature of the present.

13   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Who is Harold Camping?

He is a fringe guy who has written several books predicting the return of the Lord – wrong, of course. So he developed a theology that says we are currently in the tribulation, that God has abandoned the Church, that the only way to be saved it outside the church… and a bunch of other rot.

Obviously my reference to you and Camping was “tongue-in-cheek” – despite your views I assume you would not say God has abandoned the Church

14   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Just in my Christian lifetime (33 years) there have been measurable differences. I can remember a time when:

* We met on Sunday nights
* We had prayer on Wednesday nights
* There was a clearer sense of saved and lost
* We watched significantly less TV
* More missionaries came to speak
* We had a deeper sense of the Second Coming

AND

* We were more judgmental
* We were immobile in our music
* We were self righteous about our outward appearance
* We rejected effective methods to reach sinners

So there you have it.

15   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

You are kidding, right Neil?

The commandment is “Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord your God in vain”

That is to be used casually. In our society, we use the name God to describe our God, Yahweh, the Lord almighty. We use the name Jesus , Jesus Christ, etc. to describe God the Son.

The casual use offends me, and I believe it offends God.

Where have the ADM’s used blasphemy, using God’s name as a curse word? Give examples.

And this is not what the post is about, BTW

Technically, the quote that Jerry posted isn’t using the Lord’s name in vain. If we are going to say it is, then I guess it’s just too bad about all those Hispanic guys named ‘Jesus’.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain has more to do with trying to speak in God’s name, or using it similar to the way a witch doctor would invoke the name of a pagan deity to try and get it to do something for him. It’s pretty easy to find examples of ADMs claiming to be the mouthpiece of God. I find that much more offensive than using the term above as an adjective.

I would say it is possible that asking God to damn a person could be using His name in vain, as it isn’t our place to tell Him who He should and shouldn’t condemn (something many ADMs seem quite fond of, I might add).

16   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Where have the ADM’s used blasphemy, using God’s name as a curse word? Give examples. – PB

Once again you have silvanized what I wrote. I did not say they used God’s name as a curse word. I will answer your question when you ask one about something I actual wrote.

17   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

2 – racism
3 – ethnocentricism

Both demonstrated by the ethnocentric emergent church in Minneapolis, Solomons Porch, which is 99% white.

18   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Good points Rick…

19   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Both demonstrated by the ethnocentric emergent church in Minneapolis, Solomons Porch, which is 99% white – PB

Please Pastorboy, are you really saying that churches that are not culturally diverse are ethnocentric and racist?

Sloppy.

20   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:46 pm

A curse against God? Hoe is this a curse against God? Pastorboy you amaze me! I have seen God’s name abused in much much worse ways by our favorite ADM’s… yet you still say “When I see something that meeds addressed [in their blogs], I will.”
Furthermore, I might argue that “God” is not a name anyway, therefore it does not fit the “Do not take God’s name in vain” prohibition… that said, I still say I’ve seen much worse on ADM sites.

I say again, how is God’s name used in vain, abused as you say, by ADM’s? How is God not a name?

Why are you and Phil justifying the casual use of God’s name?

21   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Both demonstrated by the ethnocentric emergent church in Minneapolis, Solomons Porch, which is 99% white.

Oh, give it a break…

Using that logic, I assume your family is racist because it’s 100% white.

You can’t deny the fact that the church in the 50’s had some very racist elements. Heck, Bob Jones University didn’t allow interracial dating until the 1980’s I believe.

22   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Just so that we can all understand my particular quote in the above post.

1. I quoted the usage of another author. I didn’t write it. I quoted it.

2. It is not a ‘curse against God.’ It is a characterization of what appears to have happened: The times were so bad they appeared God-damned. This is not blasphemy. It is a characterization. It is a way of expressing what we cannot imagine with other words. It is the worst possible way of looking at something: It is not happy. It is not good. It is damned. It is God-damned.

3. My only regret in quoting the quote is that it has sidetracked, already, the thread.

23   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

The use of God’s name as a descriptive adjective including the very serious issue of being “damned” is innappropriate at best and unecessary at least. The issue has passed but still offends dinousaurs like me.

This is better – $@*&%$

24   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Why are you and Phil justifying the casual use of God’s name?

I feel pretty free to use God’s name casually – He’s my friend, you know…

25   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I say again, how is God’s name used in vain, abused as you say, by ADM’s? How is God not a name?

Why are you and Phil justifying the casual use of God’s name?

I’m not justifying it – I am addressing your reaction. I wonder what God dislikes more – some using his name as a cuss-word (though I’m not sure that is hw it was sued in the post quote) or ADM’s who “in his name” destroy works of his Spirit based on their own ethnocentrism, arrogance, and poor discernment.

26   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Ethnocentric? Yes in every sense of the Word.

They claim to love ‘the other’ and claim to desire to reach out and do the social justice thing, but really all they are is a bunch of white suburbanites who love to do the city thing. They are in the midst of a racially diverse community, and their ‘missional community’ comes no where close, unless they are being missional to the Yuppies.

By its nature, it is also racist, because this is who they strive to reach, clearly this is their circle of friends, etc. There are not many african-american emergents. It is mostly a Granola/nature/yupified white movement.

27   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I want to include an issue very close to my heart that I forgot. Not too long ago the evangelical church was overtly racist. When I married a mixed couple of believers in 1991 some of my elders would not attend the service.

Of all the sins the church exhibited back then or now racism remains one of the most disgusting and in opposition to the Triune God. (I always use the Triune God to REALLY make a point!!) :)

28   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Rick,

I too would not use the phrase, nor defend those who do… In a quuote I see no issue.

I was addressing PB’s over-reaction and misinterpretation (it being a curse against God).

29   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

“I’m not justifying it – I am addressing your reaction. I wonder what God dislikes more – some using his name as a cuss-word (though I’m not sure that is hw it was sued in the post quote) or ADM’s who “in his name” destroy works of his Spirit based on their own ethnocentrism, arrogance, and poor discernment.”

I am declaring it a tie.

30   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

PB

#4.

I think you bring up a lot of good points actually. The problem is that they seem to be based more on your particular enjoyment of a particular style as opposed to being in opposition to a Scriptural idea. Going back to the original church has been tried. The Restoration Movement had the idea and perhaps it was a good idea for a while, but the term ‘original church’ could never really be properly defined.

So who defines what ‘original church’ means, what it looks like, and how it behaves? Besides, have you seen the original church in the Scripture? Seriously, the New Testament (at least the epistles) would not even have been written if those churches had been doing things correctly. The letters were written mostly for correction of errors. And Acts? Well, that church had issues too.

jerry

31   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Rick,

The seminary from which I got my degree would not admit non-whites as students until the 1970’s.

Neil

32   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

#21
My biological family is 100% white because i and my wife and her family and my family is 100% white. It is biological, not racist.

Our church fellowship is very diverse, even more than our community. Our community has less than 5% non-white folks, yet our fellowship is more along the lines of 20% non-white.

My adopted son is indiginous.

33   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

One of my best friends adopted 4 black children even though they are white. It is one of the things I admire about Chad and his wife.

34   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:56 pm

They claim to love ‘the other’ and claim to desire to reach out and do the social justice thing, but really all they are is a bunch of white suburbanites who love to do the city thing. They are in the midst of a racially diverse community, and their ‘missional community’ comes no where close, unless they are being missional to the Yuppies.

And I assume you are in the position to pass this judgment because you went to one service? And I assume you know what every member does throughout the week?

By its nature, it is also racist, because this is who they strive to reach, clearly this is their circle of friends, etc. There are not many african-american emergents. It is mostly a Granola/nature/yupified white movement.

Well, in many ways, African-American congregations had been “emergent” in their theology long before there ever was a term. Social justice has long been huge issue in these congregations, and the church seemed to be more involved in the community life. I think if anything, the EC has stolen some of their theology.

35   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

#30
When I think of the ancient church, and how I would like to see the local church be, I think of Acts 2:42-47. If we were like this, demonstrttaing the love of Christ and love of Christ in our every day life, Christianity would be growing instead of on the decline.

36   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

re: #26

I am utterly and thoroughly disgusted at your attitude, your arrogance, your supposed ability to know the motives and the hearts of others, and how you belittle the work of the Body of Christ.

37   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Our church fellowship is very diverse, even more than our community. Our community has less than 5% non-white folks, yet our fellowship is more along the lines of 20% non-white….

So we can prove whether or not someone is racisst based on statistics then?

38   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Our church is predominantly white. Across the street is a church that is predominantly black – both I would guess are in the 95%+

I suppose we’re both just a bunch of racists then?

39   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

And I assume you are in the position to pass this judgment because you went to one service? And I assume you know what every member does throughout the week?

I have been four times; I have seen one black face, at one service.

Well, in many ways, African-American congregations had been “emergent” in their theology long before there ever was a term. Social justice has long been huge issue in these congregations, and the church seemed to be more involved in the community life. I think if anything, the EC has stolen some of their theology.

Social justice is not the only hallmark. In every african american church I have been to ( there are many) They tend to be more conservative, cling more tightly to the right interpretation of scripture, and social justice in the context of the church and family life. There are more liberal ones that get more press, (see Rev. Wright, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, et.al) that, like their white counterparts, have no problem departing from scripture.

40   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:03 pm

#38

You brought up racism in ‘modernist’ churches….not me.

41   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:04 pm

When I think of the ancient church, and how I would like to see the local church be, I think of Acts 2:42-47. If we were like this, demonstrttaing the love of Christ and love of Christ in our every day life, Christianity would be growing instead of on the decline.

Who says Christianity is on the decline? And it seems to me that many people in the church are doing the very things you say they are not. It also seems to me that when they do these things, they are often criticized because they do them in a way that is not happiness to others. In other words, people get too bent about the methods used instead of the motivations and the goals.

42   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

THE ECCLESIASTICAL GOLDEN YEARS

* People would use the surrounding bushes for excretion
* Babies succled openly
* Most of the congregation came unbathed for days
* No deodorant
* Most clothing was less than clean
* Real wine
* Livestock wandering close
* Many times no written Scriptures
* No sound system
* Women kept silent (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

The good old days…

43   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

#38

Neil, are you in the south? I observe that more in the south than anyplace else. I think it is personal preference, not racism (for the most part, anyhow).

My point is that Solomon’s porch is far less diverse racially, and seem a lot more ethnocentric based upon the make-up of their congregation.

44   Mike    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I think that one thing that there has also been a gradual movement away from denominationalism (in some areas) and back to just being Christians. This is away from the church of the 50’s (I hear, since I am too young to know) and towards a more 1st century attitude (again, from what I hear, since I am too young to know for sure)

I think also that the church is becoming more focused on a relationship with others of any race or creed, because the focus is gradually shifting from butts in the seats on Sunday to getting to loving people the way Christ first loved us… and if they come to church, that’s fine, but not the focus necessarily. Those both seem to be somewhat 1st century beliefs, also.

So are we moving forward, yeah… sort of…and maybe backwards too.

45   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

John – with all I disagree about with Pastor Paggit I would suggest that he is very inclusive and cannot be accused of any racism at all. That is just criticizing something that isn’t there at all.

46   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Who says Christianity is on the decline

?
Every major statistical picture about the visible, institutional church.

And it seems to me that many people in the church are doing the very things you say they are not.

For example?

It also seems to me that when they do these things, they are often criticized because they do them in a way that is not happiness to others.

For example?

In other words, people get too bent about the methods used instead of the motivations and the goals.

People cannot see motivations, we can only see the outward actions which may or may not be appropriate.

47   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Good points, Mike.

48   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

#45
Talk is cheap, though, Rick.

He can seem inclusive, but the makeup of his church demonstrates who people make friends and relationships with. And they are, for the most part, White young urban professionals. They (and we all) need to do a better job of reaching all people.

49   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

John – I have not been to his church, I have no knowledge of their outreach, and I cannot make any connection with the racial makeup of his congregation and his heart on race.

It is not a judgment that should be made by anyone detached from the situation. Paggit doesn’t just SEEM inclusive, he is many times in my view doctrinally OVER inclusive. I would reject any notion of prejudice tosay nothing of racism.

50   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Every major statistical picture about the visible, institutional church.

The institutional church may be in decline in the US and elsewhere, but I don’t think that means the church on a whole is in decline. Certainly, the church is still growing, and there are more Christians now, on a percentage basis and just pure numbers basis than ever before.

51   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Jerry,
To get back to the questions you mentioned, I would say I’m less and less concerned about how people will view the church as a whole when they look back. I suspect, it will be a mixture of bad and good, much like the church has had throughout its history.

What I’m more concerned about is what my legacy will be. Was I as loving as I should have been, did I spend my time, money, and energy wisely, and did I inspire others to seek God. Because, frankly, I am the only person I have any control over when it comes down to it. I will not be accountable for what the church down the road did with its resources, but I will be accountable for what I do with mine.

52   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

#51
Amen Phil, well said

53   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Good assessment, Phil. My personal record concerning your questions is unfortunately mixted.

54   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Mixed. The drugs are kicking in… :)

55   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Who says Christianity is on the decline

Every major statistical picture about the visible, institutional church.

And it seems to me that many people in the church are doing the very things you say they are not.

For example?

It also seems to me that when they do these things, they are often criticized because they do them in a way that is not happiness to others.

For example?

In other words, people get too bent about the methods used instead of the motivations and the goals.

People cannot see motivations, we can only see the outward actions which may or may not be appropriate.

Decline: I disagree. It might be on the decline in the USA and Europe (for obvious reasons), but it is not in Africa, Asia and South America.

Doing: PEACE is one example. People might hate Rick Warren, but he has a heart for the people whose lives are being destroyed by AIDS.

Criticized: See, AM, SOL, CR?N, etc.

Motivations: These people belong to Christ and their motivations are described as publicity stunts, circus churches, ungodly, apostasy, heresy, etc.

How’s that?

56   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Jerry speaking well of Rick Warren on any issue can be grounds for excommunication. Repent quickly before your candlestick is removed!

57   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Jerry,
To get back to the questions you mentioned, I would say I’m less and less concerned about how people will view the church as a whole when they look back. I suspect, it will be a mixture of bad and good, much like the church has had throughout its history.

What I’m more concerned about is what my legacy will be. Was I as loving as I should have been, did I spend my time, money, and energy wisely, and did I inspire others to seek God. Because, frankly, I am the only person I have any control over when it comes down to it. I will not be accountable for what the church down the road did with its resources, but I will be accountable for what I do with mine.

Phil, good point. It is also one that I should think more among us would be concerned about in every day life.

jerry

58   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Motivations: These people belong to Christ and their motivations are described as publicity stunts, circus churches, ungodly, apostasy, heresy, etc.

When people dress like clowns, bring elephants and worlds largest dogs, drive motorcycles into sound systems and jump them over the pastors heads, offer gasoline cards, shot glasses, etc. etc. etc. to attract people into church, What else should it be called?

How do you know they are in Christ? How are those who are in Christ described? (See Galatians 5:22, 1 John)

59   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I have been four times; I have seen one black face, at one service. – PB

… therefore they are ethnocentric? Ethnocentric means you believe your ethne to be superior – as in “we should sing songs I like…”

60   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

John – some of those things are goofy but well intentioned. Let us remember Jesus gave out fish sandwiches to His congregation, as well as aquatic levitation, healing lines, eye spit, a corpse raising, mind reading, and other seeming theatrical attractions.

61   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

#38

You brought up racism in ‘modernist’ churches….not me. – PB

In the context of the 1950’s as an example. I references churches that were awash in modernism, not speaking of modern churches.

62   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:42 pm

That one black guy snuck in unawares and was forbidden entrance the folowing week. All of Jesus original disciples were white Jews. Kind of like a mix of the Klan and the B’nei Brith. :lol:

63   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Neil, are you in the south? I observe that more in the south than anyplace else. I think it is personal preference, not racism (for the most part, anyhow).

My point is that Solomon’s porch is far less diverse racially, and seem a lot more ethnocentric based upon the make-up of their congregation. – PB

No, I did my seminary work in the south – Dallas Theological Seminary. But now I am on staff at a church in northeast Ohio.

I think you are making a false assumption, that lack of ethnic diversity means ethnocentrism.

64   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

It is not a judgment that should be made by anyone detached from the situation. Paggit doesn’t just SEEM inclusive, he is many times in my view doctrinally OVER inclusive. I would reject any notion of prejudice tosay nothing of racism. – Rick

I agree, I’m not a big fan of a lot of what I have seen from Paggit

65   Bo Diaz    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:49 pm

How do you know they are in Christ? How are those who are in Christ described? (See Galatians 5:22, 1 John)

Ah, good to see that works based, old time religion is still alive and well.

66   Bo Diaz    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

In the context of the 1950’s as an example. I references churches that were awash in modernism, not speaking of modern churches.

Your discerners ladies and gentlemen. They can’t even discern the difference between modern in the sense of new, and modernist in the sense of worldview.

67   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

The denominations are in decline – no doubt. Many evangelical churches rely too much on stunts – no doubt. Some emergents are giving away the farm to be inclusive – no doubt.

That things were better then and are worse now – lots and lots of doubt…

68   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

“How do you know they are in Christ?”

Ouija board.

69   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Since the Reformation and the Enlightenment these things have been cyclically true:
There have been those willing to accommodate the churches to the culture, whether that was modernism, or postmodernism.

There have been those who reacted to this accommodation. Some reaction is good, others over-react.

There are those ready to judge everyone else’s attempts.

70   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:05 pm

#59

I know what ethnocentric is.

And yes, they do sing the songs they like, very hip, folkesy, and original. Not African American by any stretch; more Bob Dylanesque .

71   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Jerry – I think future generations will look back and conclude that Christian blogs changed the world!! :roll:

72   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

We have wasted too many comments addressing Pastorboys silliness…

To answer one of Jerry’s questions: I believe that one of the legitimate critiques of this young generation, in the generations to come, will be the propensity of some to view everything from the previous generations as negative, outdated, or wrong… to think they have nothing to learn from those who preceded them.

It is just as wrong to see nothing (or very little) good in churches of the ’50’s, 60’s, 70’s… as it is to see nothing (or very little) good in the new ones.

73   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Rick,

If that’s true, God help future generations!

jerry

74   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Silly?

That is aweful judgemental of you.

75   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Neil,

That’s why I said “Still, it’s one thing to look back and learn, and quite another to look back and lust.”

And you make the point well.

jerry

76   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Silly?

That is aweful judgemental of you.

“judgmental” not “judgmental” –

OK, how about something more neutral… “we have wasted too much time on Pastorboy’s comments.”

77   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

#76

So my opinion is not valued, and my observations are a waste of time?

I won’t bother trying to answer a serious question anymore, then. I apologize for wasting your time.

78   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I have said your attitude disgusts me.
I have said your reading and commenting is sloppy.
I have said you twist things to create a caricature you can attack.
I’m still upset you say this site tries to destroy the Bible…

And you get upset about this?

Your opinions are not necessarily a waste of time. Spending a lot of time discussing your opinions may be.

You have a lot of passion. It would be better served if you let yourself see what God is doing in the churches you oppose so.

79   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

…or, PB, to put it another way. We all know what you think of this generation. I’d like to see what others have to say.

80   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

I think we should talk about Universalism now. ;)

81   Neil    
December 28th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

I think we should talk about Universalism now. ;)

…for a change.

82   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Universalism – the belief system that says the universe controls everything popularized by the theologian Carl Sagan.

83   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
December 28th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I’ve been gone all day, but I have to say there is one thing about those who long for the church of yesteryear that I don’t understand. Well, actually there is a lot but one of them is the whole Sunday night thing. You do realize that when the church first went to the separate Sunday night service they were considered compromisers that loved their agriculture more than God, right?

Jerry,
To your point, I think they will say that this generation did more than most before it to help the poor and needy, but sometimes in our zeal we forgot some of the important things.

84   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 9:47 pm

When I have read the history of the church I have discovered something that was brought to my attention by one of my best friends who is reformed/Calvinist. He mentioned that Calvinists in the 18th and 19th centuries seemed to be avid in evangelism, open air meetings, and revivals. He noticed the overall behavior of Calvinist preachers seemed much more aggressively evangelistic.

Many of today’s reformed churches seem much more consumed with learning than spreading.

85   Bo Diaz    
December 28th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Awww, what’s the matter pastorboy? You can dish it out, but can’t take it? You’re willing to question the salvation of others who don’t work hard enough in your opinion but someone calls your opinions silly and that’s over some imaginary line?

86   chris    
December 28th, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Our church fellowship is very diverse, even more than our community. Our community has less than 5% non-white folks, yet our fellowship is more along the lines of 20% non-white.

Nothing like proving how racially sensitive you are by pointing out how not like you those in your fellowship are. WOW! We have reached a new level of…well…??????

Our community is less than 5% ethnically diverse but our congregation is 4 times that.

I figure since you attack so many on the words they use I might begin to point out your deficiencies in communication. I know it’s not what you meant but it is what you communicated.

87   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I am 5% American Indian, 7% English, 10% German, 3% Brazilian, 4% Mexican, 4% Russian, 11% Australian, 6% South Poleian, 12 % from Atlantis, 4% nomad, 2% trogladite, 5% Bigfoot, and 14% German Shepherd.

Do the math – 100% sinner. :cool:

88   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
December 28th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

…Feelin’ alone, the army’s up the road,
salvation a la mode and a cup of tea…

89   Eugene Roberts    http://eugeneroberts.wordpress.com
December 29th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

In this thread, I am asking: What do you think a future generation will say about our generation of the church? What is good, what is bad, what will be left, what will be retained? When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith among us? Why are some so hell-bent on returning the church to the days of yesterday instead of pressing forward, ‘further up and further in’?

I took this question to be asked of the church I’m part of not those who I disagree with. So… I’m in a semi-seeker sensitive almost emerging church.

The good:
– We have moved from viewing other denominations and assemblies as enemies to conversation on how to do this church thing better together.
– We have learned to welcome the unbeliever without judgement
– Got rid of “christianese” church language
– Struggled with relevancy getting closer to share the Good News so that our generation understand what is about (still not there yet but closer)
– We try to be find out where we went wrong and figure out how to correct that (REVEAL)
– Trying to rediscover a vibrant spirituality that transforms us into the image of Christ daily (see second point in “The bad”)
– Starting to reach out to the poor and needy in a real way

The bad:
– In trying to be relevant to a consumerist culture we focused too much on entertainment and “spoon feeding” and so ended up with consumerist Christians (kind what we had against the previous generation which entertained themselves with their brand of Christianity fashioned to their own liking)
– Because of our reaction against the old ways (talking about Pentecostalism) we threw out the baby with the bath water. The spiritual experience was real a lot of times but because of some hype we got rid of that and so lost a big part of the experience part that can help us grow.

Will faith be found?
I believe so. We are constantly asking ourselves what we are doing with this gift of salvation we received. This gives the Holy Spirit the chance to work in us. It is when we get so sure and self-righteous that we are in danger of our lamp being removed from its stand.