The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Fifty-five
The second stream of concern contends that believers will become spiritually lazy and even compromise the principles and theology of the Christian faith because of their disconnection from the local church. The problem with this argument is that surveys find a measurably greater degree of lukewarm faith among the believers in the pews. Revolutionaries, almost by definition, are zealous and passionate about obeying God’s Word and honouring Him. More often than not, they resort to departing from a local church in order to foster that focus.
Warnings about heresy creeping into the minds and hearts of the Christian body are always worthy of consideration. However, it is just as easy to identify heretical teachings proposed from current church pulpits as it is to identify heretical revolutionaries. After all, research shows that only 51 percent of the pastors of Protestant churches have a biblical worldview! The embarrassing profile of Christians can be largely attributed to the quality of the teaching they have received in sermons, Sunday school classes, and small groups. It is inappropriate to suggest that revolutionaries are worse off because they do not receive teaching from a nearby congregation. In fact, many revolutionaries rely upon Bible teaching delivered through the media or via teaching of trusted Bible expositors whose podcasts they subscribe to.
Revolutionaries are spiritual warriors. They do whatever it takes to lead a holy and growing Christian life and lifestyle. Because they are vitally concerned about the truths and principles they absorb, their media usage and organizational affiliations reflect the care they take to limit their exposure to that which is edifying. They are not perfect, by any means, but they are sensitive to the importance of exposure to people and information that will raise them to a higher standard, rather than drag them down to a defiling level.
The third and final thread of dismay is based on the argument that massive departure from the local church will dissipate the hard-won, expensive resources of the church community and its influence upon culture.
As a part of the Church, revolutionaries have no interest in denigrating any segment of the Kingdom; their goal is to be agents of transformation who support and add value to the good that exists in the Church.
Again, from a practical standpoint, it is hard to take the “undermining church influence” argument seriously. Research shows that local churches have virtually no influence in our culture. The seven dominant spheres of influence are movies, music, television, books, the internet, law, and family. The second tier of influencers is comprised of entities such as schools, peers, newspapers, radio, and businesses. The local church appears among the entities that have little to no influence on society. It seems that if revolutionaries approach faith from a different angle, the Church has little to lose and much to gain.
To those who are worried about their investment in congregational real estate, the only answer is to recognize that the Kingdom of God is not about buildings and programs. Those resources can be useful in building up the body of Christ, but we can never allow brick-and-mortar to be the engine that drives the Church.