It’s not just in the USA! It’s killing the gospel witness of smaller churches who can’t meet the variety of demands.
In his new book, I Will, (B&H Publishing Group) Thom Rainer charts some of the reasons for what he terms the “terrible shift to the preference driven church.” These are some challenging words.
“I can’t put a specific date on it. Smarter people than I have tried to explain it. Somewhere in the twentieth century, believers, particularly in America, began to shift from an attitude of self-sacrificing service to God and worship of God, to consumer-focused, self-serving attitudes.
It has been a terrible shift.
Some blame it on the secularization of our culture. Others point to the degradation of theology in our churches. Still others say local church leaders themselves have taken on corporate models and turned our churches into consumer-focused organizations.
There is probably some truth in all three explanations. But there is one thing we can say with certainty: the focus in too many of our church…
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1. We would need to reject that Jesus was a miracle worker of which is abundantly attested in ancient sources.
This needs to be rejected even though the evidence is quite extraordinary. It’s attested to in all levels of strata from pre-New Testament sources Q, L, M, pre-Mark, Pre-John Signs gospel, in our New Testament sources Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, and the Pauline epistles, as well as extra-biblical sources of Josephus, and the later Talmud. A creed found in the Pauline epistle 1 Corinthians 15 houses a tradition that goes back to within five years of Jesus’ death of which itself contains the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead via recording the empty tomb. Jesus’ miracle status is what best explains the crowds that were attracted to him: “crowds flocked to him because of his reputation as a healer.” -Marcus Borg (‘The Mighty Deeds of Jesus.’)
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Don’t evaluate your own ministry based on what “fans” say who only watch the outside stuff.
17. Too many will boast about outward issues in ministry, but God evaluates the heart (2.Cor.5:11-12) God knows what is going on inside the minister of the Gospel. Others will only ever evaluate based on externals since that is what they see. Don’t evaluate your own ministry based on what “fans” say who only watch the outside stuff. They may be impressed, but prayerfully ask God what is going on inside you and you will probably get a clearer glimpse in a few seconds than others see in many months. We must not rely on handshakes, compliments and twitter comments to overshadow the reality of our own hearts.
18. The New Covenant minister is constrained and controlled by the love of Christ (2.Cor.5:13-15) While we may be considered out of our minds for…
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Here follows a list of quotes …
Here follows a list of quotes I’ve collected and compiled from over the last two or so years (my digital quote library is bursting at its edges!). There is no particular form that these quotes take, rather each is from the unqiue story of each former atheist. Where possible, I’ve left links that readers can follow to find out more about each conversion testimony, or articles that they’ve authored. The others are predominantly from books that i’ve read.
Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, assistant professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. He was once a vocal atheist.
- “In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If…
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The Spirit within us stirs courage in our ministry, and He stirs our motivation to please the Lord.
14. The Spirit guarantees our hope, not our circumstances. (2 Cor.5:1-5) God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come. This earthly tent is fading (this earthen vessel is being increasingly broken), but the stirring of the Spirit within whispers the dawning of eternal immortality as we anticipate the fuller life that is to come. So in ministry we don’t cling to false promises of easy life now, but we are willing to serve in the midst of groans because there is something far greater to come!
15. We are away from the Lord now, but we are living in anticipation of seeing him (2.Cor.5:6-10) The Spirit within us stirs courage in our ministry, and He stirs our motivation to please the Lord. Why? Because even though we are not…
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the treasure that we have is held in jars of clay. Unimpressive, weak, fragile, often cracked and inadequate
11. We should not expect our lives to match the glory of the gospel in respect to our strength, but rather to manifest the glory of the gospel in our weakness. (2 Cor.4:7-12) Others may look down on us because we are not impressive. We may long for superhero strength in ministry – every spiritual gift, perfect life, abundant tangible blessing, being liked by everyone, etc. But the treasure that we have is held in jars of clay. Unimpressive, weak, fragile, often cracked and inadequate. Life is worked into others as death seems to reign in our experience. These are key verses for us in ministry. How often do we feel afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, physically weak, struggling to sleep, discouraged from every angle? Yet we are not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, destroyed…
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