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Are you a member of the invisible church?

August 9, 2006

http://www.sacredsandwich.com/photo54.htm (funny)

http://www.founders.org/blog/2006/06/resolution-on-integrity-in-church.html (not funny)

BTW, the resolution never even made it to the floor for a vote.  But at least now those 8 million missing members know they shouldn’t be drinking beer.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    August 9, 2006 9:36 am

    It’s all about your priorities. . . .

    By the way, here’s the link to another Sacred Sandwich pic.

    Not on topic, but funnier.

    http://www.sacredsandwich.com/photo59.htm

  2. Egana permalink
    August 9, 2006 5:23 pm

    I am a little confused…

    This seems like it might be a good resolution… I mean, if I am sitting in “membership” in a church, and I havent been there in 10 years, or worse, I am bringing my married-to-someone else boyfriend with me each morning, or some other such blatant sinful practice, shouldn’t I have the benefit of church discipline to call me to repentence and back to obedience to God (and all the inherant joys that relationship brings)?

    Or are you saying that the fact that the alcohol thing gat accepted, and the discipline thing didn’t even get heard, is the problem.???

    Aha! Yep, I bet that’s what you are saying…

    heh heh heh… sometimes I am a little slow…

    Egana

  3. August 9, 2006 6:53 pm

    Yes, Egana, by the end of the post you got it. You’ve well modeled the “E” thinking out loud. No offense intended, it’s endearing. :-)

  4. August 9, 2006 7:40 pm

    I’m glad it’s endearing. We gotta think somewhere.

    Also, I enjoyed the Sandwich links. They’re even good the second time around… much like Bob-based salsa!

  5. August 9, 2006 8:56 pm

    Geez, they have 8 million members unaccounted for?

    P.S. Egana, who brings their married-to-someone-else boyfriend with them to church??? Well, I suppose it’s been done, but I just… can’t imagine ever having the cajones to even think about doing that. I’d be terrified of getting smited from above after crossing the threshhold. Or worse yet, hearing the sermon and being convicted…

    I’d like to point out to you that this comment is brought to you by the teeny inner J that hides in me somewhere…

  6. Ellie permalink
    August 9, 2006 9:56 pm

    This seems like a catch-22 to me. If you aren’t being spiritually regenerated, going to church is just a boring chore, like something you feel like you SHOULD do, not something you WANT to do. If you ARE being spiritually regenerated, you will LOVE going to church because by doing so you will learn more about God and also get all kinds of good spiritual weapons and armor, which help you get even more spiritually regenerated, provided that (like us) you have a church and a pastor that are providing good spiritual food – making church a blessing instead of just a place you may or may not decide to go to on Sunday. So…those 8 million people are missing two major things – the first being a healthy introduction to God that would cause spiritual regeneration to happen so that they would DESIRE to attend church and BENEFIT from doing so, and the second thing being churches that would feed whatever little sparks of grace their congregations bring in with them or better yet, churches that were working to create those little sparks in the first place by introducing people to God in a meaningful way (something more meaningful than making drinking beer a sin). Anyway, the resolution wasn’t about making people attend church, it was about making the people who are in charge of the church be more statistically truthful, which seems a little silly to me. Sure, right numbers are important, but the numbers are just a symptom of the problem which is that there are lots of people (including the church leaders) who aren’t getting spiritually fed. I feel sad for them. Just another “E” thinking aloud. The mental wheels really are spinning around here, aren’t they? : )

  7. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    August 10, 2006 11:00 am

    Long one here, sorry:
    There is an additional dimension to this resolution that falls into Ellie’s “symptom of the problem”. It’s not explicityly stated, but found in the first resolution:

    “RESOLVED that we encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches. . . .”

    While we tend to think of church discipline as the specific process of admonishment, censure, removal from office, restriction from the Lord’s Supper, and finally excommunication, the historical view of maintaining discipline within the church included other concepts, including “fencing” of the Communion Table (reclaimed early in the Reformation from the ancient churches “dismissal of the catechumens”), and–in this case–admission, transfer, and dismissal of members (an ancient practice that the Roman church maintained and passed on to us). Who is permitted to what portion of the Church’s activity is one of the “keys of the Kingdom” given for the administration and purity of the Church, guided in application by the Holy Spirit and the Word.

    Failure to maintain accurate roles, or better said, failure to ensure that professing Christians are either participating in the Body of Christ, properly transferred to another faithful congregation, or “erased” from the roles (to use the Presbyterian term), is to demonstrate a lack of concern by those governing the church for the spiritual well-being of the sheep. There are 8 million professing Baptist believers who “never attend or participate meaningfully in the life of any local Southern Baptist church and are thus no different than non-members”. Some of this is simple laziness, some of it represents people in transition, but much of it reflects a stunning failure of men entrusted to watch over the flock of Christ to give a hoot about where their people are during worship. This, I think, is the real heart of the matter, and it’s big deal. There’s a lot more to say on the issue of church administration and discipline, but I’ve belabored it enough.

    One last thought: Some of this issue, predominantly at the denominational levels of church government, is politics. The SBC can claim to have 16 million members, when in fact it has half that. In our society, numbers of participants mean political clout, media exposure, free advertising, and a host of other intangibles. So this is also a matter of dishonest manipulation of numbers to maintain a certain status in the world. Perhaps the effort spent in concern for maintenance of the world’s weapons would be better spent in concern for the people of Christ.

  8. egana permalink
    August 10, 2006 12:13 pm

    hoooo-hommm (as Tree-beard would say)

    political clout may clout the one who wields it…

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