Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Muturing Faith & Programs

"A pastor once expressed concern to my professor regarding a congregant who had quit attending Sunday evening services. My prof asked if the man had been consistently growing in Christlikeness over the past years. Was he becoming a better husband? A better father? A better employee? Was he evidencing the fruit of the Spirit in increasing measure? The pastor said, 'Well, yes.' My prof's response was, 'Then why are you worried about it?' He went on to articulate that we must not get the means confused with the end (i.e., a program confused with Christlikeness). The goal is not to pack out our programs--including Sunday evening services--but to mature people in faith."

-Nathan Casebolt

"Sunday evening gives you about three hours, tops, to "help others." If that service, or any other organized weekly meeting, is the extent to which we are helping others, we are utterly failing in our calling to stir up each other to love and good works. Being genuinely involved in each other's lives does not require and is sometimes hindered by multiple weekly meetings of the entire congregation. Corporate worship is essential, but it does not constitute what "church" is all about, nor can we, as believers, practice love to each other sufficiently in those contexts.

"To put it mildly I think Fundamentalists, among many others, have a serious problem with what the "church" is and what it is about. Being an active member of the church has little to do with how many times you're assembled and much to do with how you, outside of those few meetings, express your love to your brothers and sisters in Christ, which asusmes your getting involved in their lives.

"People need to be awoken from their delusion that simply because they assemble together (what we inaccurately call "going to church"), and maybe even do something like teach or sing, they are are fulfilling their obligations to their local body. The idea of being separated from each other five days a week, then shaking each others' hands and making small talk for 30 minutes a week constituting our primarily conception of what (the) church is (to be doing) is indicative of our errant priorities and doctrine.

"When you look at the lists of spiritual gifts, it should be glaringly obvious that most of those gifts cannot be effectively used on the context of the local congreations' assembling once or twice a week. They imply and presuppose daily contact with the local body."


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