Sunday, November 22, 2009
The American church needs another Kierkegaard (qua ecclesiastical critic, not fideist): Christendom is not Christian. Remember SK's work, Attack on Christendom. She or he will probably come from another country, since we fish don't know what our water is. We do not know what seeking God or suffering for God is.
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Hello Dr. Groothuis,
I don't know how familiar you are with Dallas Willard's work, but he offers some sound and freeing critiques of the church.
He spends a lot of time on the drying manifestations of legalism, the impotence of church attendance alone to affect spiritual growth, and how the "audience of one" (as opposed to outward manifestations of holiness) is the only way to put on the character of Christ.
These critiques are offered in sound philosophical categories, borrowed from his anti-naturalist work on Husserl (realist phenomenology).
Anyhow, I thought I'd chime in because Willard has been convicting me in these areas lately! Thanks for posting!
Brother Groothuis, you are correct that the church at large has succumbed to the attraction of mirroring the culture with a gloss of holiness to lend it credibility. We must look to the shepherds whose task it is to stand as priests and prophets in adjudicating where to place the responsibility. For the most part, many have given up standing in the gap so that they have time to manage the coffee shop and the bookstore.
We must also look to our schools of ministerial preparation. Where was the emphasis on holiness during our training? Devoting one hour per week in a forced group for spiritual formation? Attendance at chapel gatherings where there was little to challenge us in our personal holiness? Perhaps this is an unfair expectation of the Seminary environment but the emphasis on the mechanics of pastoring leaves little time for soul development. This deficit trails the pastor into the church and the spiral continues. More coursework should have been like yours, challenging the mind and soul to think, think, think!
There are men and women who understand the need to restore holiness within the church, even here in America. They risk removal from their positions by demanding holiness in the body and rigor in belief. Until the pastorate becomes less of a popularity contest, a beauty pageant and a source of personal fame, God will continue to be a 'topic' rather than the center of all. Perhaps a new voice of reformation will arise and nail a new Pensees to a chapel door.
Until then, we continue to seek Him. Blessings to you and Mrs. Groothuis.
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