Sunday, May 18, 2008

Christianity without church/community?

From Scott McConnell with Lifeway Research (hat tip: Touchstone)...

McConnell's survey found that 86 percent believe they "can have a good relationship with God without being involved in church."

McConnell: "Unchurched people do not understand the connection between having a relationship with God and being with other believers in church. In the Christian faith, these are inseparable. Jesus’ last prayer before being arrested, as recorded in John 17, was that everyone who believes in Him would be unified and work together to let the world know that God loves them and sent Jesus. People on the outside see the church as candles, pews and flowers, rather than people living out their love for God by loving others. Such skepticism can only be overcome by churches and believers who demonstrate the unity and love for which Jesus prayed."

Starting with a trinitarian God in community with "Himself" (vs. a unitarian God) to the simple observation that loving one's neighbor implies having a neighbor, Christianity is relational and communal at its core. Failure to understand this and to practice it leaves a sparse life and largely irrelevant faith.

3 Comments:

At May 18, 2008 at 8:47 AM , Blogger daltonsbriefs said...

Problem:

For many church has been one of the most painful things in their life. It's only by God's actual redeeming grace that they attempt to walk alone and without the koinonia Christ suggested.

I am one who loves the Lord, but I am extrememly cautious because church is and continues to be one of my most painful and negative experiences in my life.

 
At May 18, 2008 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

Join a bible believing and preaching church with a spirit of love about it. Try Southeast Christian, Highview Baptist, Northeast Christian, Northside Christian, Valley View Christian or Sojourners and I'm sure there are many more wonderful church families all over the area.

 
At May 19, 2008 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Dalton,

I know this happens often-- particularly in legalistic church settings or with important church-going people in one's life who were over-bearing &/or very hypocritical. In any case, the point about Christian community stands: despite its difficulties and challenges, it is our calling and the best op to live out our faith.

Bob Russell often said that a (very) large church like Southeast allows people to come in and be anonymous for a time-- important for those who are recovering from church-inflicted wounds. (Large churches have their problems too, but this is one advantage.)

 

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