I came across this article, about what I call “de-churching.” It is an interview between John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute and Julia Dunn the author of Quitting Church. It is very thought provoking and good for us to have in mind as we work to contribute to the transformation of the church in the USA.
Hope you find it helpful.
-Darrow L. Miller
Fernando Guarany JrJanuary 7, 2009 - 11:23 am
Very useful post, Darrow. Thanks!
Unfortunately this is exactly what’s going on in Brazil at the moment. I couldn’t agree more with what Duin says about the seeker-sensitive movement. Church should be done for saved people and the unsaved are welcome to attend. The seeker-friendly movement is a clear example of how subtly “humanistic religion puts man, rather than God, at the centre of the universe” [Darrow Miller]. The challenge in the contemporary world is not so much discerning right from wrong as telling the difference between right and almost right.
“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” [Charles Spurgeon]
Also, I like some of the pointers Duin offers to counter the problem of people quitting church. They’re straightforward and practical, but not pragmatic. Nevertheless, I’d say the problem goes much deeper than that. Perhaps, something to consider as well, is that a number of people sitting in our churches today have never been saved by Christ. And the reason is because they’ve never heard the True Gospel.
Finally, I don’t think I really understand what she says about Joel Osteen and his theology, which I simply abhor! Well, I guess I’ll just have to buy the book and read it….
Thanks again, Darrow.
Fernando Guarany Jr
darrow millerJanuary 8, 2009 - 8:02 am
Thanks for your response. The quote from Spurgeon says it very well.
Considering Spurgeon, his church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London was, in my mind, a model church. It was a light house and preaching point for the gospel. Tens-of-thousands came to Christ through Spurgeons preaching. And the church was “a church without walls” actively engaging in the needs of the greater London community. The people of Metropolitan Tabernacle were involve in over 50 ministries in there parish from soup kitchens, to skills training programs, to care for widows and orphans to literacy programs. This church understood and practiced Biblical wholism. If more churches were functioning from a Biblical model and principle then fewer people would be “de-churching,” the body of Christ would be growing, the Kingdom would be advancing and communities and nations would be transformed.
I agree with your comment that many who sit in church pews today have not heard the whole gospel and would add that they may not have seen a Kingdom oriented church. They are experiencing “meeting Christianity” not a Christianity that transforms communities and lives.