Thursday, September 4, 2008

Half-dead Truth or Alive Half-truth

If there were only two congregations in your town (neither being your preferred denomination), which would you choose?

The first one holds more closely to biblical truths but seems virtually dead. There is no growth numerically or any real desire for growth in spiritual maturity. The church-goers are content to be pew-warmers and the leadership is more concerned about parking lots than evangelism or discipleship. But the website and sermons state the truth and are biblically sound.

The second one holds at least one medium-size (not something major like Jesus sinned while on earth and not something minor like whether the worship should be traditional or contemporary) doctrinal error, but the church is evangelizing and discipling. It has grown significantly in the last few years because they have been reaching out to the community and preaching the Gospel. The people seem committed to spiritual growth.

So what would you choose? Or would you start your own little house church?


Scott Weldon said...

It really depends on the extent of the "error." Just because a church is growing/popular doesn't mean it's "good", biblical or desireable to be a part of. (I would point to Rob Bell, Joel Osteen, and others as examples).

I would rather "join up" with folks whow are doctrinally sound and work and pray to motivate them into growth, etc. than to join a congregation that is building on the foundation of doctrinal error.

Again, it would depend on the size of the "error" but numerical growth isn't all it's cracked up to be if it's based on unsound theology.

Just one opinion.

Applied Christianity said...

Scott, those are good points. That's why I said medium-size error. I totally agree that popular does not equal good. To me popular does not even equal growing. If people are coming, but their lives aren't being changed what good is it.

Wickle said...

Generally speaking, I'd have to say that truth counts more than enthusiasm. As Scott said, though, it depends on what this error is.

However, getting excited for the Truth is a lot easier when you know the Truth ... getting people to leave the lies for which they're excited is a lot more difficult.

Intriguing question, though ... It might be interesting to see how we'd do with specifics. Who draws lines where?

Hmmm ...

Applied Christianity said...

Yes, it would be interesting to see how different people would draw the line.

Rebecca said...

As long as their cristology and soteriology are sound, I'd go with option B, because they're actually displaying faith. The other church can't be biblical if it only speaks the truth but never acts on it.

And I don't think anybody should ever start a church because they find the local churches not quite to their liking. The only reason to start a church is because Jesus specifically told you to. Otherwise you'll fail anyway.

Applied Christianity said...

I tend to lean in your direction (though I had to look up soteriology). I like how you said, "The other church can't be biblical if it only speaks the truth and never acts on it." I understand speak where the Bible speaks, but what about act where the Bible acts?

I also agree that people shouldn't just go around starting churches willy-nilly.