Failure of Churches, Whose Fault

Loutzenhiser's picture

This question has been circulating in my head for the last few days and seems to be a subject of prime interest among several members here, so I thought to start this thread to try to answer the question.

First let me be clear in that I do not believe that all churches or pastors are failing in thier resposibility to God. But I do see many churches and pastors failing or struggling in the winds of adversity that blow through the religious community today. WHY?

Let me set up our situation here. We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, west of Seattle on the Kitsap Peninsula. We are home to some of the richest and most technical businesses in the world, ie., Microsoft, Real Player, etc.. In this region the fastest growing religion is Wican. That is New Age witchcraft. In our area the highly praised kids are the Crystal and Indigo children. For more information on crystal children link here. Church attending christianity is some %6.5 of the population. The large churches here (average membership 600 to 5000) either teach christianity/hinduism or prosperity message. For example Casey Treat. On the small end we have several congergations that use sheperding such as the Apostolic Lighthouse. (I feel for the women in that church. TJ and I have "rescued" 3 of them from thier controlling/abusive husbands.) The fastest growing christian community in the area is the storefront pentecostal movment. Small churces of between 5 to 50 members. The problem here is the lack of umbrella or oversite allows for some "intersting" beliefs to flurish. The Church of God of Prophecy is the largest number of this group. Here one can find everything from Mary, Jesus' mother as the literial wife of God to "It is not your fault you are failing in life. You must remove the Demons that are controlling your circumstance". A little something for everyone. We even have large congeration with an excellent pastor who teaches that water baptism died out with the Apostles (extreme dispensationalism), Grace Bible Church.

Can one wonder that I am seeking for the tenets of the original church?

The highest category of failure among the mainstream pastors in this area is "the other woman" and the second is (and this shocked me) pastors who come to believe that they are Jesus or are a direct messenger of God (in other words their words have precedence over the bible). Latest victim to that one, one of our local Nazarene churches.

Now the question is what do we do about it and how can we go about purifying God's church. Or do we just start over again with a new movment? How about the Spiritual Cleanliness Movment? What basic tenets should God's church embrace? How do we keep the pastors and congergation pure and inline with God's word?

There are many "hows"

There are many "hows" to go about doing this. In the Anglican church of the 1700s, the Pilgrims decided to separate from the Anglicans because the differences were too vast. The Puritans had vastly different beliefs from the Anglicans as well, but sought to reform from the inside out. I think to some extent, you need both strategies.

One thing about "umbrella" hierarchies, is how steep should they be? I have to cite 1Pet 5: "Younger, submit unto the elders; yeah, all of you be subject one to another, for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble." No matter how steep the hierarchy, even kings can mess up. I think the answer is "cross-accountability": Anyone should be able to approach anyone about anything. Even King David needed someone to confront him about his conspiracy of murdering Uriah. Its like "checks and balances."

I think part of the reason there are so many flavors of Christianity, is there is no mechanism to mediate problems. People who question authority, are deemed heretics; and people in authority, tend to abuse it. I'd like to think, things can and will get better as people hunger for righteousness, but then I don't buy into "doom and gloom" eschatology, either.

Fare thee well, in thy quest-