The Disappearing Church

One of the greatest illusions is to make something disappear. Objects disappear easily when they are not there, this is not an illusion, it is simple physics. The Church has gone through many evolutions, the Dark Ages, the Crusades and other times when its survival seemed unlikely. Will the Church survive the crisis of irrelevancy it now faces?

The main problem the Church faces is age old, trying to be something you were never intended to be. God loves his people but cannot view their sin. This is the simple doctrine the Church was built upon. A Holy God that loves all people enough that his only Son was sent as a sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin. This was to restore man from a broken relationship with God. The Gospel (The Good News) is God provided the sacrifice needed to bring men back into an intimate relationship with himself. The Church has fragmented from this message. Money, power, political status have been some of the deterrents from proclaiming this “Good News”.

Recent events have shown cracks, fissures in the foundation upon which the Church was established. When the AIDS epidemic struck the world, the opportunity to show God’s love to people in need was never more prevalent. Yet, evangelicals decided it would be more productive to speak of the promiscuity of the sexual relationships of the homosexual community. This was a missed opportunity to reach out and show God’s love. A note to the Church, loving someone does not mean condoning their lifestyle, it just means being there for the person. The second example has been the Coronavirus pandemic. Aside from a few graceful organizations, the Church for the most part has been silent. Many Pastors have hidden in the safety of their homes, all the while letting a hurting population fin for themselves. Is this what Good News is all about? Did Jesus touch the man with leprosy, or hide in his home? Another crisis, and it appears another missed opportunity to share God’s love and grace to others.

We sure have some great Mega Churches in this country. These have been built for a God that says in his word “I dwell not in temples made with hands”. We have adopted a theology that says “You are no different than I am”. If that is a true statement, why would I ever need a restored relationship with God? My sin is no different than yours, my forgiveness can only come from God above. That forgiveness is the difference, it does not make a person better than another, it makes them forgiven. The Church should not cower from its doctrine, but likewise, it should not be used to poke someone in the eye. It is a balance, only God’s transforming love can give. On its current course the Church has a real good social club, but you have to question its effectiveness in proclaiming the Good News to the unreached.

The Church is very similar to Israel in the Bible. We are prone to fall because we are human. We think of ourselves much more than other people. Yet, this is the very vehicle God chose to proclaim his Good News to all mankind. The Church will survive, but what will it look like in ten years? Will it even remotely resemble the New Testament Church we see in the Gospels of Matthew through John? The Church is mass of people that believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, not a building, an organization and certainly not a denomination. Is the Church of today disappearing? Maybe the question to ask, “Has it been gone for a long time, with only a trace rememberance of its former self”? Maybe the God of the universe is looking for a small group of followers that understand grace, forgiveness and mercy. I think the Church is still there, it just might be buried under a slew of manmade commities, organizations and beuracracy.

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