Category Archives: Church

Church – buildings “that used to be”

White frame churches stand in the center of many New England villages.  The steeple soars above the trussed roof.  Many are kept in repair as symbols of what “used to be.”  Once they deeply influenced the community’s personal beliefs and habits, but now serve only as a gesture.  The New England Village, 45

Their existence poses two questions.  One, why were they built?  Two, why do they remain?  Even if some are still in use or maintained as tourist destinations, what personal belief exists in those attending compared to those who built them?

Many church buildings remain, all over America, built by those persuaded that Jesus Christ needed to be proclaimed.  But are now relics of the past, not harbingers of the future.  They’re in big cities and rural towns.  Nearly empty of people, or used by cults, ethnics, or government agencies extending welfare where preachers once extended salvation, they no longer influence community decisions or personal lives.

They remain physical structures void of spiritual energy.  The people of a later generation or more forsook what had been the inspiration that built them.  Instead of aggressive evangelism they chose maintenance.  They remain as mute witnesses of what they “used to be.”  Their structural and spiritual decay muzzle a past VOICE that spoke good news.  That changed lives.  That built marriages.  That incubated children from cradle to maturity in Christ-centered activities.

What a sad epitaph for so many church buildings in America:  they are “USED TO BE” Congregations.  They “Used to believe” Jesus Christ’s deity, Divine Sonship, Saviorhood and Lordship.  What a sad epitaph for many people who “Used to be workers” in God’s vineyard.  “Used to be”:  a curse on any building or person.

Are we a “Used to be” Christian or congregation?  Living on a legacy?  On the generosity of former members who financially endowed a future they envisioned for the church, now ruined by beneficiaries who accepted the endowment while removing from the church the Christ of God, his Saviorhood and Lordship?

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 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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Church – unlike business, isn’t into people-pleasing

The renovation of Macy’s flagship store in New York began in 2012, won’t be finished until 2015 and will cost 400 million dollars to complete.  The always-popular holiday window displays have consistently drawn large crowds.

What was noteworthy wasn’t the 24,000 square foot cosmetics and fragrance department, with complimentary additions.  Women love to look and smell good—and men have no objections to either.  But do women really need “the world’s largest shoe floor”, spanning 63,000 square feet and stocking over 250,000 pairs of shoes?  Shades of Imelda Marcos!  (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/8/14)

Well, business—even Macy’s—has to appeal to customers to gain an economic advantage.  It fashions and refashions itself to be POPULAR with people.

A mistake church leaders shouldn’t have made, shouldn’t make, and should immediately stop making.  God sent Jesus Christ as Savior to save us from our sin.  We cannot be awakened to our need of forgiveness unless we confront our sinfulness and repent of our wayward ways.  The church, then, is in the People-saving business, not the People-pleasing business.  Though more than a few churches have adopted the business model for their congregations:  klieg lights, flashing brilliant colors, specious stages, over which various musical instruments create loud sounds over microphones that blast listeners’ ears.  Then homilies (that once were sermons) on subjects that APPEAL to, not DISTURB, listeners.

Whatever happened to the teaching Jesus Christ made the basis of discipleship:  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me?”  (Matthew 16:24)  And whatever happened to the Master’s tough, no-nonsense preaching that his servants must resist temptation, forgive those who harm them, pray like the abused, but persistent widow?  And many other teachings that make us uncomfortable!