Monday, July 19, 2004

Chuck Colson on Alt. Church

My wife forwarded an email to me from Chuck Colson's Break Point Ministry.  The email is a copy of Colson's 07-14-04 Commentary entitled Alt Churches.  I think Colson makes a valid point when he criticizes churches that emphasize style over substance, but I think he has in large part missed the boat.
The problem is not with alt churches.  The problem is with the mentality that says if we put this program into place  (blank) will occur.  Colson makes this point by talking about other styles of church service and their apparent lack of substance, but he seems to group all alt worship into the same basket of experientialism. 
I must say, and I did to him in an email, that my experience with alt church has been a positive one, and somewhat less experiential than the traditional churches I grew up in.  I seem to remember a tradition of "hell-fire-and-brim stone" determined to scare people into salvation.  Fear, you don't get much more emotive than that. The alt church people I've been around and involved with have demonstrated the love of Christ in their actions and communities, and have challenged me to a point of helping shape some of my theology.  I've never seen the gospel watered down, though I'm sure it happens, and have consistently seen Christ lifted high, but maybe that is because the alt/emerging churches I've associated with are not about programs and numbers in the church.  They are about the growth of disciples in the Kingdom of God.
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20 NRSV


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