Thursday, January 3, 2008

Church Reform - Getting Started

I think the majority of us would agree that the church in America (I can’t speak for the rest of the world) is in desperate need of reform in a variety of areas. The need for reform ranges from discipleship to doctrine, from evangelism to edification, from giving to growth, and the list goes on.

Some folks would question whether or not reform is even possible. I believe it is. For example, the church in Corinth in the first century was an absolute mess and in need of many changes. The Apostle Paul did not give up on them, but instead visited with and wrote to them in order to bring about reform.

In order for reform to occur today, we must have some sort of goal to move toward. Of course, that goal must be the bible (this point is so obvious that I’m not even going to argue for it). The church in America falls far short of biblical standards in many areas. If reform is to happen, the goal and purpose must be to move the church to be more like what we read about in the New Testament.

In the bible, we have commands about how we should live, what the church should be like and do, etc. We also have what is modeled for us by the church in the bible. Often what is modeled is not commanded, and that is where we, in America, have run into so many problems.

It is my belief that most churches today want to follow the commands of scripture, but have little intention of following much of what is modeled in the New Testament. Just as one example of this, almost all churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper. However, only a small percentage do this as part of a larger meal, which seems to be what the early church did.

It is my contention that in order for real reform to occur, churches today must strive to not only follow the commands of scripture, but also must model their actions after the church of the New Testament.

In the upcoming weeks, I plan to look at various aspects of church life in America. It is my desire to discuss with you what the problems are, what we see modeled in the New Testament, and how we can work together to bring about reform.

I realize that ultimately only God will reform his church. However, we also know that he is faithful to his word, and desires that his people live according to it. I strongly believe that when we strive to be the church that he shows us in the bible, this pleases him and spurs him to bring about change.

8 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Eric,

I look forward to this study. Many people are pointing out the problems, but few are offering solutions beyond "do it better".

-Alan

Eric said...

Alan,

I'll do my best with it. I certainly don't have all the answers, but through discussion I hope we can try to come to some good (biblical) conclusions.

Eric

Brian said...

maybe along with reform will come revival - not in the crazy charismania way per se, but in the sense of people desiring to know God more and more and seeking after him with all their hearts - and going to church in a desire to be a part of the people of God and the Kingdom of God. Church is on the decline in America - not too many see any sold reasons for going, (with the exception of the mega churches) - the Church in America has become complacent and needs revival. At least, that is how I see it.

How can revival come to the Church in America? I think it starts with prayer and fasting on the part of those Christians who want to see God move. Then we go from there. But if we don;t (or won't) pray, how can we expect God to move?

Brian said...

Should our goal be the Bible or the God to whom the Bible directs us? I agree the Bible is important as it is the revelation of who God is but remember Jesus' rebuke of the Jewish leadership - John 5:39-40 "You diligently study[a] the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." They too desire to live rightly and have reform yet missed the point of it all.

Brian said...

I see my comments may have not been acceptable, I apologize if I was offensive, I did not mean to be...

Eric said...

Brian,

Your comments are great. I just hadn't had time to check my blog today.

I agree that revival is important. I would love to see God bring revival to the church in America (and around the world). That would be a related series of posts, but I'm going to focus on reform for now. I realize that reform and revival can be related, but I'm not going to tackle revival right now. Why don't you do that one? I'd look forward to what you have to say.

As for bible or God, I don't see a discrepancy there at all. We know God through his word. My desire is to see the church in America begin to practice what we see in the NT. Regarding the religious leaders, the key was their misinterpretation of scripture. However, your point is well taken. We all need to be careful not to become legalistic about the church. Christ must be our center.

Whenever we follow the scriptural model, we do well.

Thanks for your input.

Eric

Richard Boyce said...

I'm with you, friend. Looking forward to the reading.

Eric said...

Richard,

Thanks. I hope we can all learn together.