Friday, 16 June 2017

Are Churches up to the Challenge?

Are churches up to the Challenge?

I may come across a bit “anti-church”. Well I get angry about churches for the same reason that I get angry about bishops – not because I don't believe in them but precisely because I do !

Yes I do believe that without the institutions we call churches faith cannot be maintained andd transmitted down the generations. So I get angry when I see churches abandoning their God given role of maintaining the faith once delivered to the Apostles and becoming mere social clubs – or worse still becoming mere political activist groups! In my chosen denomination the Anglican church I get angry also when I see bishops behaving badly, again because I do believe they have a vital role to play. Naturally both these beliefs have got me into a lot of hot water!

One tragic example of the need both for churches and their continued communication with churches worldwide is that of the Japanese Christians. Christianity came to Japan in the mid 1500's. In the late 1500's the Tokugama shogunate came to power. Part of their deal with Buddhists for support was the suppression of Christianity. Then and through the 1600's there were severe persecutions aimed at eliminating Christianity altogether. Christians did manage to continue in secret, but cut off from the world and largely from each other the Christian groups the missionaries found when Japan was opened up in the late 1800's often had a quite heterodox faith which had obviously slowly morphed over the centuries.

My question today is: Is your church and denomination up to the challenge we are facing (and about to face!) ?.

Below is a link to a very short video I made over nine years ago as a promotion for a motion I was about to put to the Melbourne Anglican synod in November 2007, that we should make disciples of Jesus rather than putting our effort into political activism. (I made it very mild to reduce hostility! But even so it was greeted with boos and jeers. The Archbishop commended it and it did just pass. Needless to say nothing has changed since then.) Doe this message apply to your church?
Watch it and see.

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