I read a great email this week from Thom Rainer Ministries about some of the looming dangers on the spiritual horizon for the church. It was thought provoking, so I thought I would share his thoughts with you this week and then make a few comments. These “five imminent dangers to the church” are typical dangers for those churches that have abandoned core doctrines and those who feel there is no need to share the gospel with people. However, there is a lot of pressure on solid evangelical churches to absorb these ideas too; here is the list:
- Doubts about the exclusivity of salvation through Christ. While truly evangelical churches are not doing this there are many churches, either because they think they are becoming more relevant to the culture or they are “rationalizing forms of pluralism and inclusivism.
- “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'” (Joh 14:6 NAS)
- “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NASB)
- Waning efforts at evangelism. Many churches do not see the need or do not have the burden any longer. Regardless of the reasons it is impossible to not see the critical importance of presenting the gospel to a lost world. The gospel is the doorway to relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. To receive the gospel personally and see no compulsion to share “good news” with others seems unimaginable.
- Making doctrine and works either / or. Some evangelical churches have a superficial theology and focus on pragmatism. Some other evangelical churches have a deep theology that does not result in evangelism and ministry. The former is works without faith, and the latter is faith without works.
- Forgetting the global mission. Jesus told His men their witness would begin in Jerusalem but it was to extend beyond their own borders to not only different people but to all people. The essence of this is that it is easy to lose a global perspective of mission by just doing our neighborhood. We need to continually evaluate that we are bribing others to do the job for us and that we are passionate about a global spiritual footprint.
- Fighting rather than going and doing. A church without unity is a church headed for disaster. We have plenty of critics, second-guessers, and bullies in many churches. But we must cultivate the heart of Christ to make disciples. The absence of unity will cripple the church and cause it to die by its own weight.
Source: Thom Rainer’s blog