Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"We've Got a Better Idea!"

God has shown us his plan for his church in scripture. However, what we read in the bible looks far different from what we see in most of the church today. Why is this? The reason is that today's church thinks it has better ideas. Otherwise, the biblical model is what we would see followed.

This may seem harsh, but when we begin to list the ways the modern church looks significantly different from the church in scripture, we see that it's true. The bible shows us one thing, and today's church responds with, "We've got a better idea. Let's do (insert item) instead!"

For example:

In scripture we see churches gathering in houses.

Today's church responds with, "Let's meet in large, expensive buildings instead!"

In scripture we see churches meeting in informal ways.

"Let's have scripted ceremonies instead!"

In scripture we read of free-flowing, spontaneous gatherings.

"Let's have bulletins instead!"

In scripture we see much dialogue as the church comes together.

"Let's listen to monologue sermons instead!"

In scripture we read of the church meeting for the purpose of edification.

"Let's meet for worship instead!"

In scripture we see the Lord's Supper celebrated as a full meal.

"Let's eat a snack in a funeral-like setting instead!"

In scripture all of the spiritual gifts are used to build up the body.

"Let's limit the expression of spiritual gifts to the ones we like instead!"

In scripture we read of the entire church gathering together regardless of age.

"Let's split up into age groupings instead!"

In scripture all the church is equal. The elders were simply part of the body.

"Let's create a clergy and treat it differently than the laity instead!"

In scripture the elders always came from the place they served.

"Let's hire pastors we don't know instead!"

In scripture the elders worked like everyone else.

"Let's pay salaries to professionals instead!"

In scripture we see preaching primarily to the lost.

"Let's have preaching mainly to the church instead!"

In scripture we read that we are free from the OT law to follow the law of Christ.

"Let's focus on the Ten Commandments instead!"

In scripture we see that every day is the same in Christ.

"Let's make Sunday into 'The Lord's Day' instead!"

In scripture the young adults are expected to act as such.

"Let's have youth groups instead!"

In scripture we see the church give its money away to assist those in need.

"Let's keep most of the money (to pay the bills) instead!"

In scripture we read of believers giving freely, without compulsion.

"Let's give a tithe instead!"

In scripture the church simply gives as it sees need.

"Let's have budgets instead!"

In scripture the church seeks unity in decision making.

"Let's vote instead!"

In scripture everyone is a member of the church.

"Let's have local membership instead!"

In scripture we see an emphasis on the New Covenant.

"Let's have a church covenant instead!"

In scripture we see Christians unite in Christ.

"Let's be united with those that agree with us instead!"

In scripture we see every Christian in a city as part of the church in that city.

"Let's split into denominations instead!"

In scripture we see the church serving the needy.

"Let's read lots of theology books instead!"

In scripture we read of the church taking responsibility to educate its people.

"Let's build seminaries to educate the future clergy instead!"

In scripture the church read the bible (the Hebrew scriptures).

"Let's read out of our quarterlies instead!"

In scripture the Holy Spirit brought life wherever he saw fit.

"Let's have scheduled revival services instead!"

In scripture all days are holy. The church celebrated Christ whenever it gathered.

"Let's celebrate Christmas and Easter instead!"

In scripture only Jesus is referred to as the Senior Pastor.

"Let's call some other man the Senior Pastor instead!"

In scripture the church is a God-created organism.

"Let's form an institution instead!"

This list does not suggest or imply that the early church was perfect. Far from it. However, we can see what was approved and what was not by the apostles. Christ has given us, through apostolic writings, a plan for his people.

It is categorically not a better idea to move away from God's plan for his church.

What we generally see today is so different from the church in scripture that we have to ask if it is even the church. It is much more of a man-created institution. They are not the same.

God's plan is best. When we follow the principles and models he has laid down, much positive comes from it. The question is simply whether or not his people will follow it.


Marshall said...

the "better idea" rebel movement?

Aussie John said...


Reminds me of Romans 1:25.

Eric said...

People certainly like their own ideas best. I suppose it begins with inherited tradition, and then just sort of morphs into what everyone is comfortable with.

Norm M. said...

A while back, you wrote a post on why being a paid pastor was easy. There were a few people that strongly disagreed. I've been wondering if that's perhaps because those people were truly putting a lot of effort into an impossible task. It seems to me that accomplishing the church's mandate through the confines of an institution is improbable at best: Sunday school programs to manage, youth programs to manage, "discipleship" programs to oversee, lectures to prepare, not to mention the daily functioning of the organization to see to. It seems to me that when well-intentioned people see nothing substantial being accomplished and see the church losing its effectiveness, they put more effort into the same tactics. Ultimately, these human efforts are like trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole.

Eric said...


I agree. I've met many, many pastors who have wonderful intentions for the church. They love the Lord and his people. Sadly, they believe that what they are doing through the institutional framework will bring about growing disciples. Despite their failures, they keep trying the same things over and over. Additionally, their positions require a great deal of administration to keep the institution afloat. This adds up to a lot of work. However, it is the administration that is the difficult part. They actually don't spend that much time being pastors in the biblical sense. If they did, they would be trying to equip the body for ministry (Eph. 4). In seminary, I often heard it said that preaching is the best way to equip the people. I now know that that is nonsense.

Your analogy of the square peg being forced into the round hole is an apt one. They keep trying and it keeps not working.

Ironically, one definition of insanity is hoping for different results when you keep trying the same things over and over. I think pastors would be wise to think about that.