Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dying of Improvements

The death of the Church

Colossians 2:1-8
“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” 

In Second Corinthians 11:3, Paul the Apostle expressed fears that the Corinthian Christians might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. One may wonder what Paul would say today, if he were, in our midst and saw our modern Churches. We have Churches today that are so complicated and constitute more of what can be described as a beehive of activities: so many committees, boards, programmes, organisations, and units within the body. These organisational complications have made the Church service more of a formality. Church services have been reduced to a series of announcements, sermons are abridged and tailored to suit what the congregation wants to hear, no evening services because it is not quite convenient, and prayer meetings are tailored to fit into schedule. Some call this an IMPROVEMENT over the simple programmes of the early Church, but is this progress? 

The story is told of a German lady who was taken seriously ill and was rushed to the hospital in Britain. In the evening, her husband phoned to inquire how she was getting along and was told that she was ‘improving’. The next day he called again and was told that she was still ‘improving’. This went on for some time. Finally, one night he called again and he was told that his wife was dead. He went to see the doctor and said to him: “Well Doctor, what did my wife die of, - IMPROVEMENTS?” Many Churches today are dying like that woman, of improvements.

How does a Church die?  

First we improve on the theology of the Church by getting “a new theology” and get a minister for it. He may not be the Pastor.

Second, we get a highly trained but godless quartet or a good orator to champion the cause of the ‘improvements’

Third, we change the prayer meeting into a weekly literary debating society; where we debate all the issues.

Finally, we give up the pulpit prayers – the minister saying that God knew far better what the people needed that he could tell God.

Fortunately, we have not got to this point yet. But we need to be very careful lest we drive ourselves there. We may often win the debate, but lose the soul.

Paul warns the Church in Colossae to beware of vain philosophies and empty deceits which are according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. He reminded them that Christianity is a relationship based on personal faith in Christ. It begins in faith, grows in faith. Faith grows with knowledge of the truth and truth is not found in imitation but in studying the Word of Truth. The world around us is improving but indeed it is dying and would soon die of improvements. Let us and our Church not die with it. God forbid! 

God bless you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment