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Thoughts on Church, part 4

February 4, 2008

I think one of the mistakes we’ve made in our Christian growth – especially in America – is the development of our “Christ-likeness.” In other words, how do we become more like Christ? The typical approach begins with the individual. We have a moment of salvation and we proceed to mature individually from that moment on. Church is a tool to help us along in our spiritual quest, but the empasis is placed on quiet-times, prayer life, reading the Bible, and becoming a better person. The more mature we become, the more of an assett are we to our community, especially our church community. So even in our pulpits, the emphasis is usually on becoming a better individual – either by “7 steps to becoming a better husband,” or by becoming more doctrinally sound (head knowledge leads to heart change). This last one is popular in reformed circles. In fact, when I was in seminary, the “spiritual disciplines” were more emphasized than any other type of spiritual growth technique. This is why the puritans were held in such high regard – many of them were the princes of piety and left many excellent “how-to’s” for us to read and emulate.

I think this is backwards, though. Now, don’t get me wrong, spiritual discipline (quiet times, prayer closets, piety, etc.) are all great… they’re just not the foundation for our spiritual development. So what is?

Church.

If we are to become more Christ-like, the best way this can happen is for it to flow out of a healthy church life. In fact, I would put it in this order: church, family, individual, community (although I think its more of a case of one flowing out of the other, rather than 1,2,3…).

But this sort of leads us back to a previous question I asked – What makes church so important? Is it the things we do in church? Is it what we do for God? Is it what He does for us? In my previous posts I’ve given a few clues as to my answer. But that’s for another post 🙂

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