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What is “normal” among the church today?

Posted by on Jun 2, 2011 in blog links | 4 comments

What is “normal” among the church today?

In this post, I’m using the term “normal” with the following definition: “Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.”

So, thinking about that definition, look at the church in your area. What is “normal” among the church?

Dave Black recently wrote an essay examining some of the “norms” that he found among the church in the New Testament. The essay is called “What Does a New Testament Church Look Like?

Here are a few of his “convictions”:

I am convinced that the house church rather than the sanctuary church was the New Testament norm.

I am convinced of the normacy of tentmaking leadership.

I am convinced that the church exists in part to equip all of its members for ministry.

I am convinced that the leadership of the church should be shared for the health of the congregation.

There are many more, so please read his post.

But, my concern is that even if someone might agree with one or two of these “norms,” it is clear that the church today rarely resembles the church as described in the NT. That’s a problem.


4 Comments

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  1. 6-2-2011

    ” it is clear that the church today rarely resembles the church as described in the NT. That’s a problem.”

    The state of the church is certainly a problem; one might well even say, a catastrophe. Our response to knowing this and understanding what has taken place may be an equal or greater catastrophe.

    Just as when Israel had been divided and taken away captive to the world, we need again workers like Zerubbabel and Joshua, and Ezra and Nehemiah, and Haggai and Zechariah. They called the nation to return and encouraged them in the work to restore the fallen temple–not to its full glory, but in preparation for the visit by Messiah, a far greater glory. It falls yet that we the church will do the same. I think this is the present work set before the church today, and we have these before us who labored for a good pattern, who brought His people from their captivity until the temple was ready again.

    And many have set their hand to do just this, to call the church to return and to restore. It seems the calls for change in the last few decades have risen until everywhere change is heralded. But something (at least as I have observed and experienced these efforts) has been missing.

    Yes, the church is a mess, but it is not “they” or “it” that has failed in faithfulness, it is we. We cannot act as though we are outside of (or worse, above) the failure of the church. We are the church, for better or worse, right? We cannot walk away from the church and proclaim our own hands clean by doing so. What has been missing, and has been lacking in my own heart, is the weight of owning the guilt of our failure as the church first. Of owning the failure along with all believers.

    The best first reaction on seeing the great gap between our former estate in Acts 2 and 4 and our present estate, is not anger at God or anger at the Clergy (or clergy-system). It is not even correction or teaching or other attempts at restoration, but first we should fall on our faces with heaviness, with repentance with groaning as the weight of our sin falls over us and we recognize the hand of judgement that our great gap represents, as had Daniel in his day. Daniel well preceded all the restorative activities with repentant prayer pouring from a heavy heart:

    “…O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;…”

    See Daniel 9. Can we hope such accurate passions would fly from our lips today?

  2. 6-2-2011

    Art,

    Yes, it is “we”. That is a very good reminder. And, we ARE our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

    -Alan

  3. 6-2-2011

    Alan,

    From experience I would define “normal” as that which demands the least commitment from “me”!

    From the Scriptures, the very opposite!

  4. 6-2-2011

    Aussie John,

    That’s a good observation.

    -Alan