|Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit|
When in doubt about the health of churches in America, pick up an A.W. Tozer book and read. Minimally, you won't be bored.
I purchased Tozer's Rut, Rot, or Revival: The Problem of Change and Breaking Out of the Status Quo. Now that is quite a title!
Tozer says that countless churches do things by "rote." That is, they operate under the Dictatorship of the Routine. This is mechanical and unfeeling, accompanied by no sense of expectation, repentance, presence, and surprise.
The predictable, controllable routine gets churches into a "rut." In the rut, people's spirits atrophy and die. They "rot."
In the rotting rut, churches still want to grow numerically. They want to get big. They do their best to get the crowds in. But to join them... in what?
Brace yourself. Here it comes. Tozer writes:
"That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways. Nobody is doing it—we just want more people. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is."
(Tozer, Rut, Rot, or Revival, Kindle Locations 118-123)