Friday, January 27, 2017

God Is Absent in Most American Churches (The Presence-Driven Church)

Image result for john piippo presence of god
Tree, in my back yard

At Redeemer, and perhaps at your church as well, the presence of God is welcomed, taught, made central, and experienced. The one thing we want our people to be saying, as we gather together, is: Surely the Lord is in this place. Without that we're just another entertainment center striving hard to keep the people happy.

Sadly, most American churches leave one wondering where, if at all, is God in all of this programming? This observation is confirmed by Gordon-Conwell theologian John Jefferson Davis, who writes:

"I believe that the problem of the loss of the awareness of the presence of the Holy God and the risen Christ as the central reality of worship is present to some degree in most evangelical churches today, whether charismatic or noncharismatic." (Davis, Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence, Kindle Locations 2474-2475)

I'm in the early pages of Davis's book. What needs to be recovered, he argues, is this: 

"The fundamental issue is the recovery of the centrality and reality of God in the worship and life of the evangelical church generally: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead; Jesus is still alive today, and is present here with us in the power of the Spirit to enjoy communion with his people.
It is the recovery-each and every Sunday morning-of the consciousness of this fundamental fact, without which the New Testament church would not have been born, and without which there would have been no new, continuing religion called Christianity.

This is the reality for which I am contending." (Ib., Kindle Locations 94-97)

(BTW, for those of you who like A.W. Tozer - he was contending for this, too.

And, Jesus was contending for this too. That is why he says the Temple is going to fall.)