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!
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.
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?