Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Church Growth and Personal Holiness

This is not going to be another rant against the church growth movement. Though there are major problems in the seeker movement as we all know, we should all be for church growth. In fact it seems almost impossible for a church to be fulfilling the great commission without some kind of growth taking place. We are to go out and make disciples, when they come in, they too are to grow to the place where they go out and make more disciples.

Many times though, it seems to come down to, “if we get this program going, more people will show up.” And sometimes this is true, but it really is amazing what we can accomplish without God’s Spirit moving. It is true that nothing happens outside the providence of God, and even kings have their authority because of His establishing them, but this is not the same as God’s Spirit moving on the congregation in a sanctifying way.

The idea of common grace and saving grace applies not only to individuals but to churches also. A church can grow in number and wealth if it has the right marketing plan, along with a number of other good strategies, but this does not necessarily mean anything spiritual is happening there.

A church where all of the congregants live worldly lives for the entire week is not really growing, even if it is getting more numbers in on a regular basis. We cannot really call it church growth when the majority of a local church is involved in much of the same sinful lifestyle as the rest of the world. When they spend their week chasing after self-glory, personal peace and affluence, and lets the Word of God sit unread the entire week with no real prayer life, it doesn’t matter how big the church is.

In fact, this seems to be a problem in many small non-growing churches also. The people come on Sunday and see a low attendance and wonder why the pastor isn’t bringing in more people with his sermons. Yet there is no real desire for personal holiness in their lives. After spending the entire week with no real thoughts on Godliness they come to church and expect something to happen, but when we spend a good portion of our time doing things God hates, and not doing the things He loves, we shouldn’t expect much to happen at our church.

It seems that real church growth will not happen when there is no desire for personal holiness in the lives of its people. And when there is a desire, and progress is being made in personal holiness, church growth has already begun. We don’t need more programs that will bring more people in to be just like everybody else in the world. We need people in the church to grow in Godliness and as this happens we will not need programs to bring in the people. The church will grow because the people will be bringing them in, and more programs will be developed to accompany the need for the people who are coming in desiring to know Christ and be more like Him.

So maybe this was a bit of a rant, but it wasn’t really against the church growth movement. It was against the idea that personal holiness can be neglected, while church growth is to be expected, and this happens in some churches with big marketing plans, and some without them.

As we grow to be more like Christ
And by the world we are less enticed,
In our hearts God’s Spirit’s moving,
Then of our growth He is approving.

Doug Eaton

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Man's Life is a Vapor

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

In The Public Square with John Snyder

John Snyder, a good friend of mine, is hosting a new radio show called...
Be sure to check out his site and download his radio show. It will be worth your time.

God Bless,

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crucial Issues for Christians Lecture MP3's

Below are the MP3 downloads of the lectures from the Crucial Issues for Christians Seminar. These lectures can be downloaded by right-clicking the link and selecting, "save target as."

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Emergent Church and its Self-Refuting Views

This video looks at some of the self-refuting arguments and views of postmoderns and those in the emerging church.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fighting for Truth in the Church - J. Gresham Machen

Below is a quote by J. Gresham Machen from the 1930’s laying out the battles taking place in the church. In the quote Machen rightly ascribes these battles to the modernists of his day. What is amazing about this quote is that it perfectly captures the arguments of the post-moderns in the church today.

"You will have battles when you go forth as minister into the church. The church is now in a period of deadly conflict. The redemptive religion known as Christianity is contending, in our own church and in the all the larger churches of the world, against a totally alien type of religion. As always, the enemy conceals his most dangerous assaults under pious phrases and half-truths. The shibboleths of the adversary have sometimes a very deceptive sound. ‘Let us propagate Christianity,’ the adversary says, ‘but let us not always be engaged in arguing in defense of it; let us make our preaching positive, and not negative; let us avoid controversy; let us hold to a Person and not to a dogma; let us sink small doctrinal differences and seek the unity of the church of Christ; let us drop doctrinal accretions and interpret Christ for ourselves; let us look for our knowledge of Christ, not to ancient books, but to the living Christ in our hearts; let us not impose Western creeds on the Eastern mind; let us be tolerant [think all views are equally correct] of opposing views.’ Such are some of the shibboleths of that agnostic Modernism which is the deadliest enemy of the Christian religion today. They deceive some of God’s people some of the time; they are heard sometimes from the lips of good Christian people, who have not the slightest inkling of what they mean. But their true meaning, to thinking men, is becoming increasingly clear. Increasingly it is becoming necessary for a man to decide whether he is going to stand or not to stand for the Lord Jesus Christ as he is presented to us in the word of God."

J. Gresham Machen – The Good Fight of Faith (sermon)

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