Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Always sad. . .
Watch the news report here. . . and read about the news story. . .
It is always sad when a church closes its doors but it is even more sad when the dispersal of funds from its sale is seen as the real missionary work. I do not at all mean to disparage the use of these funds for the poor and other causes consistent with the identity and mission of that congregation but to suggest that the real missionary work of the church is not alleviating poverty or supporting good causes but doing what ONLY the church can do -- speak the saving message of Christ crucified and risen to a world captive to sin and its death. All of the other things a church does are peripheral or flow out of this one essential calling and purpose and are not substitutes for preaching the good news of the Kingdom. We can do all the good we can in the world but unless we proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in Christ's name we are not being faithful and the good we do will not have lasting benefit or fruit by God's design and purpose.
How many congregations close their doors because the Word has ceased to be the center of their life together, the witness to Christ's death and resurrection has fallen to the fringes of their identity and purpose, and they have used their voices for nearly anything and everything but speaking repentance and forgiveness in Christ's name? This is the pivotal work and the unique calling of Christians in but not of the world. This is our real missionary work. We had better not forget it or we will be closing and selling a whole lot more church buildings and shutting down a host of congregations. Just sayin. . .