Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why the Church Is Destined to Die

Jesus will never fail.  Because Jesus is love, and love never fails, never ends.  

The church-- the structure that is organized and built and established in every community in the Western world-- will fail and must, if Jesus is true. 

The gaze of the church is not the focus of Jesus.

The church gazes at the sanctuary.
   The sanctuary is the center of worship, It is the place where God can be honored in holiness, in order, in serenity, in respect.  The church quiets the chaos, keeps out unholiness, establishes an orderly worship to honor God with.

Jesus creates chaos in the sanctuary.
   He comes to the sanctuary and sees that the church, in their zeal for honor, have excluded the very people God desires in His presence. Love is messy, crazy, unpredictable.  In demanding the predictable, the church has excluded love.  And so Jesus comes to the sanctuary and turns tables, throws out those who oppose love, rejects the policies that exclude the marginalized.

The church gazes at proper doctrine.
   Belief is the glue of the church, the formation of communities, the agreement through which bonds are formed.  Doctrine is the foundation of the church, the truth from which all else flows, the basis of ethics, praxis and organization.

Jesus insists upon mystery

Jesus spoke in riddles,  wrapped himself in enigmas and taught in paradoxes.  Jesus’ mystified metaphysics, and confused clarity.  Jesus clarified one thing only: mercy, compassion, humility, sacrifice and love.  He didn’t insist on clarity about God, but he demanded a lifestyle of caring.

Because the church focuses on worship, order and doctrine, they marginalize love.  This doesn't mean that love can't be found in the church, it often can.  In every church building we can find those who focus on love, who sacrifice themselves for the needy and pour themselves out for compassion, just like Jesus.  But this isn't the fault of the church.  Jesus is able to train those who use the places of worship to lives of love, but the church wants to train those of Jesus’ love to worship and believe the correct way. 

  • True worship is an outgrowth of truly loving the marginalized, not the other way around.
  • True doctrine is a result of creating communities of justice, not the other way around.
  • We need to stop building worship centers and start building community centers that have places of worship.
  • We need to stop building seminaries, expecting theologians to become compassionate, rather we need to build schools of peacemaking and expect them to become God-oriented.

Why will the church die?
Because the world has grown to realize what the church has not: that it is deeply hypocritical.  That Jesus founded the church to focus on love, but the church neglects love.  Even when a church is “welcoming”, the world recognizes that it is a concession to love in order to draw more worshipers.

Until “seeker services” look for lovers instead of worshipers, the church will fade.

And the church of worship and doctrine must die so that Jesus might live in the world.


  1. Hi Steve, I think I understand where you are coming from, but I think your conclusion is not entirely accurate. Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church . . . and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Denominations may appear and disappear, or they may reinvent themselves and become irrelevant, but the church as founded by Jesus Christ will stand triumphant at the end of the world as we know it.

  2. You are mixing up the two kinds of churches. Jesus said that he would build his "ekklesia"-- literally his gathering. That is his kingdom. I am speaking of the social structure that has been built apart from Christ for 2000 years. It's easy to confuse it because people like to call both things a "church", just like they get a "Christian" confused with a follower of Jesus.

  3. Honestly, I don't think we even have an idea of what Jesus thought about "Church/church" because we've used the word in so many ways. We should drop the word from our vocabulary and take those who follow Jesus seriously and see what results.