Saturday, September 02, 2006

Church Health Self-Test - The Church Health Self-Test

Church health appears to have a direct correlation to sin. It is by God's grace alone that he has chosen us as broken clay jars to extend His kingdom. We must always remember that the power of church health is God's Spirit.

While I agree that the five items listed in the article can have an effect on a congregation, I find it interesting that lack of connection to the Holy Spirit, found in Word and Sacrament, is overlooked.

Augsburg Confession V says:

"So that we may obtain this faith (Augsburg Confession IV), the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, when and where it pleases God, in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ's sake.

Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word."

With these things in mind, how does church health increase?

1 comment:

cellist said...

I was involved in evangelical/reformed churches from about 1983-2000 and am now a member of the LCMS. I have a great respect for the evangelical but I think one of the great weaknesses of the evangelical church is a failure to understand that the gospel is the only means of grace, which comes to us in word and sacrament. What is typical is evangelical circles is that the diagnosis is often correct but the cure is wanting. For example, the article mentions “apathy” and “purposelessness.” What is the ultimate cause of apathy and purposelessness? Is it a lack of information on how we should live or is it a failure to grasp the wonder of the gospel? In evangelical churches what is substituted for the gospel as the cure is more preaching on victorious Christian living, or more preaching of surrender. But Paul makes it clear that the law, while issuing demands, does not have the power to effect what it commands. Only the Gospel can do that. Evangelicals tend to read the Bible as hand book for daily living instead of looking in the text for Christ who died for them, and is the complete answer for their apathy, lack of surrender, lack of victorious Christian living, and purposelessness. The sad reality is, many evangelicals are dying of thirst for the Gospel, because their weekly diet is not Christ and Him crucified, but the law. I feel bad for them because I have been there. May God bring more evangel into evangelicalism.