My friend Travis Smith (or Travinci since he rarely sleeps and knows more about more than I know about less) showed me a portion of this Francis Chan sermon. See it HERE.
This is a tremendously interesting question: What is Church? How much of what we do is a product of what the Bible says? How much is what people simply do and were going to do anyway?
The Reformation revealed that we can easily settle for something other than Biblical instruction. Periodically it is of great value for us to inquire if what we are doing is still in line with what we set out to do.
Church cannot look like it did in the book of Acts. We are 2,000 years of history, technology, trial and error, and culture removed from the events that are recorded for us in the book of Acts. So what was it about that church that should be that which the "now" church is about?
Descriptive and presriptive texts inform us different ways:
Descriptive texts in the Bible simply tell us what happened once. Abraham sent out his servant to find a wife for his son. That happened once. That text is not a prescriptive text of "how to find a wife for yor son." You are not in sin if you don't force your servant to be involved in your children's marital decision.
Prescriptive texts in the Bible simply tell us what to do. Jesus says, "Repent and believe in the Good News!" This is a principle that transcends circumstance. It is a prescription. Do this!
We must pay attention to principles that represent a timeless depiction of that to which we should adhere and understand what was contextual.
A lot of what can commonly become "church" looks more like Starbucks than the body of Christ.
"Hey, let's all get together with our Macs and ignore each other!"
Why can't you just ignore each other from the comfort of your own homes? I don't know. But either way, a lot of churches end of amounting to a large group of individuals having private experiences that begin and end in the context of their own imaginings. Just like coffee shops where people fill up tables to enjoy the free wi-fi next to neighbors they thoroughly ignore.
Jesus is specific and private and personal. No doubt. But He is OUR Lord and Savior. There is an element to Christianity that is personal to you, but that personal conviction, testimony, gifting, etc... is meant to be given in service and joy to those who share in the fellowship of the same Spirit.
What should that look like? How do we do church? Is it a house? A building? A living room? A group of people? To where should our offerings go? What should we do? Who is it for? Who should be invited? Who should be included?
All interesting and difficult questions with myriad responses and Biblical rationale available to defend them.
Have you thought about church? Is Francis Chan on to something or simply easily dissatisifed?