[anzac] A DIVINE "DISSATISFACTION"

Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : December 2003 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 11:49:45 +1300
From:  Highland Christian News
URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/church-news
Date:  10 November 2003
 
 
"The State of the Church"
-by Colin Wilson.
 
For a period of over 5 years or so I have been increasingly 
bumping into committed Christians who are unsettled. They 
often find difficulty in articulating how they feel, but the 
general drift is a dissatisfaction with the level of Christian 
living in their own lives and in their churches. In the past, a 
common reponse in these situations has been to move 
church (and I should stress that the folk I am referring to are 
not immature church-hoppers looking for the ideal church) 
but part of  the perplexity that they are sensing is rooted in 
the fact that surveying a cosmopolitan church scene 
(everything from strict Calvinist to chandelier-swinging) they 
do not see evidence in any of the churches of whatever it is 
that is eluding them.

This may sound a bit complicated, and it is. The best way 
of summarising is to say that folk (maybe not thousands 
but signficant numbers) are unhappy with their own situation 
(personal and church), are not sure what they are looking 
for, and do not see any promise in the churchscape around 
them.

I might describe it as a God-given unsettledness, a holy 
dissatisfaction, a hunger and thirst for reality. The 
"disconnect" which they seem to feel is the disparity 
between what they read in the Bible (typically the book of 
Acts) and what they are experiencing in their own situations.

Many are puzzled and insecure - feeling "out of step" with 
others who seem to be quite comfortable with the general 
scene (apart that is from being concerned about falling 
numbers in churches).
 
Meanwhile, society in general is MUCH less inclined just to 
offer unthinking allegiance to organisations and institutions. 
Indeed there is a growing disillusionment with structures. 
Folk are prepared to get behind specific initiatives, projects 
or people with whom they can identify, but they are no 
longer inclined just to automatically support historic ties.

This dynamic is also in evidence in the church. One result of 
this is declining attendance and financial support (especially 
at the younger end of the age spectrum).
 
Although there are perhaps several different views concerning 
what exactly will be the shape of the church into the 21st 
century, there seems to be a consistent view that it will be 
different; and what we are currently experiencing is the 
transition in process. The words I hear are "liquid church, 
emerging church, unstructured church". We have also heard 
the term "cell church". My concern is that the latter is often 
described in the context of cells/super cells/mega cells with 
an "apostle" sitting atop the pile. The other concern that I 
have is that we will succumb to the seemingly-inate urge to 
"organise" everything in new "structures".
 
SHAKING
 
Structures which have stood for hundreds of years are in 
imminent danger of toppling. And those who derive their 
status, income, ministry base from organised religion are 
most at risk.
 
I do not discount the notion that God might be behind all of  
this; indeed I believe that He is. And in that sense the 
general situation could turn around tomorrow. However my 
sense is that there is a winnowing, shaking, refining, 
purifying, purging going on. I do not believe that God is 
going to send revival into the churches in their current 
situation. And to that extent, I feel that the shaking etc. 
will intensify.
 
REFINING
 
Over the last decade (as it seems to me) personal lives, local 
churches and denominations have been shaken to the core 
by "covered-over sin". Minor issues which would normally be 
easily dealt with have been causing much deeper and more 
serious problems to be forced into the open, as great 
eruptions. The latter have often been suppressed (pushed 
into the basement) over a period of years.

Ezek 13:9-10:
"My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions 
and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the 
council of my people or be listed in the records of the 
house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then 
you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. 'Because they 
lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no 
peace...'"
 
KINGDOM BUILDING versus EMPIRE BUILDING
 
I believe what God is looking for is a chosen people who will 
give over their hearts, their lives, their all to the will of the 
Father. Names and reputations and religious machinery 
that have been built on man's value system will be shown 
for what they are. Pride has been the driving force behind
so much of what we do.
  
COMMITMENT
 
Western Christianity has succumbed to the values of our 
age. Our lives are governed by the same aspirations, values, 
lifestyles, choices as the secular world around us. In the 
matter of "giving" God doesn't want a tithe. He wants our all.