Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The American Church Has Lost Its Way

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Some New Testament scholars believe the following:

1. The American Church has severely lost its way.
2. For the Church to survive it must understand and enact the Real Gospel of Jesus.

Voices include Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright, and Scot McKnight. There are others.

In addition to such scholars, there are unschooled Jesus-followers who are in some ways like the original disciples of Christ. They look at the story of Jesus and see a different reality than what is seen in the American Church.

Dallas Willard writes: "(In the American Church we have) contemporary misunderstandings that produce gospels that do not naturally produce disciples, but only consumers of religious goods and services....  (The) primary barrier to the power of Jesus’ gospel today... is a view of salvation and of grace that has no connection with discipleship and spiritual transformation. It is a view of grace and salvation that, supposedly, gets one ready to die, but leaves them unprepared to live now in the grace and power of resurrection life." (Willard, quoted in Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, p. 16).

Consumers, rather than disciples.

Conformation to American culture, rather than transformation into Christlikeness.

Human effort, rather than resurrection power.

Voices are crying in the wilderness. The consumer, market-driven, entertainment church does not hear.

"We’ve wandered from the pages of the Bible into an answer that isn’t biblical enough... I think we’ve got the gospel wrong, or at least our current understanding is only a pale reflection of the gospel of Jesus and the apostles. We need to go back to the Bible to find the original gospel."  (McKnight, Ib., pp. 23-24)