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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dis' in the Church?

Over at Brethren Reformation, a conversation started regarding dress, respect, and the church. While David and I may never agree about whether I should wear a tie, he did get me thinking. Why is respect such a problem in the church? And in what ways does the church treat God most disrespectfully?

Top 10 Most Disrespectful Elements in Church

[Editor's note: At this point, I began a 10 point rant of what is disrespectful in many churches today. Then I had two thoughts: a) who cares about my opinion? and b) why not ask God what frustrates Him? So instead, we'll look at one passage where God was displeased with the worship He received from churches. If you'd like to see my original list, let me know and I'll email it to you.]

[Retitled:] 8 Disrespectful Elements in the Church

1. Churches that diminish the gospel for "weightier" issues.
In our effort to preserve doctrinal purity, we can actually deny the most beautiful doctrines of all. We begin to see the gospel as an introduction to Christianity, or basic/simplistic and start to move "beyond it." A church may even hate those things which are heretical, but if she does not center her truth where her love first started, she is disrespecting God's sacrifice.

2. Churches that must experience "prosperity" to survive.
God's pleasure is found when He is glorified. God is not necessarily glorified by our abundance of stuff and comfort, but by the believer's response in the midst of trial and tribulation. A church that builds a system that can only thrive in prosperity disrespects His ability to comfort the believer.

3. Churches that conform to the culture.
God does not claim it is easy to live in "Satan's throne," yet He calls the church to be His people. It is not enough to merely say we are not as bad as the world around us, God desires we have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness. A church that wants to look as much like the world as possible disrespects His calling.

4. Churches who depend on extra-Biblical revelation.
This is not simply those who claim to have extra books of the Bible, or even a seperate book from the Bible. This is also those who depend on prophecies, declarations, or even manuals to determine their spiritual vitality. His divine power has given us everything we need and often, where suppliments are found, false teaching is also found. A church that needs more than the Word disrespects His revealed teaching.

5. Churches that do not persevere.
A results oriented church will often start out obeying God's Word but grow tired when they do not see desired outcomes. But the church is not finished! A church that does not trust Him for the harvest disrespects His faithfulness.

6. Churches who rely on exteriors.
Since we cannot see the heart, it is tempting to set up external qualifications that we can see. "Those who claimed to be Jews" in the early church were calling for Gentiles to be circumcised and to adhere to laws for salvation. But Christ identifies that as the "synagogue of Satan." A church that imposes external issues upon a person disrespects His grace.

7. Churches who lack conviction.
An ecumenical-Rodney-King-can't-we-all-just-get-along approach to church is not glorifying to God. God calls us to be holy like Him. He calls us to follow Christ. A church with a "take it or leave it" approach to the faith disrespects that God is a Zealous God.

8. Churches who focus on the earthly.
The church does not bring the kingdom of God to earth (that is Christ's job), but can bring earthly people to the King. Yet it is easy to get distracted by events on this globe (political developments, accumulated wealth, prestige) and miss out on the great work yet to come. A churches that ignores that Christ's kingdom is not of this world disrespects God by ignoring His eternality.

[List derived from Revelation 2-3]

At anytime, a church can find itself prey to these elements. But praise be to God that He offers repentance in any of these situations!

Could a different style of dress, music or preaching be a sign of disrespect? Possibly, if it is borne out of a condition of the heart that disrespects God. However, a different style could also be a genuine expression of respect for God, especially if it borne out of repentance of a formerly disrespectful heart.

[But for the record, I do not believe dressing a dog in clothes can ever be the sign of a pure heart.]


  • At 7:35 AM, Blogger BReformed said…

    It's time to let everyone know that Danny has acheived what every man in history has been trying to do. If you make it clear that wou will not wear ties, then you will not get ties for Christmas.

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i have received a tie recently for christmas...and i actually wear it...occasionally.

    of course, it's an OSU tie!

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger TheReformedThinker said…

    Amazing. You will wear a tie to respect your buckeyes, but not wear one to respect your Savior...

    Just kidding, couldn't resit adding fuel to the fire.

    Just don't be like some pastors that wear a Hawaiian T-Shirt to preach, but a suit to met politicians.

  • At 11:39 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i have a feeling that anytime i met with a politician would feel much more like being called into the principals office than a diplomatic affair!

  • At 9:03 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    good list

    email me the other list, too, please :)

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Dave Mitchell said…

    Hey Reformer Thinker,

    I wear an aloha shirt when I am praching and when I meet a politician if I run across one. Aloha shirts in Hawaii are "dress" and the only time we sometime might wear a tie is when we marry or bury....

    Surfs up today at 25-35 frt...No need fo either shirt or tie.

  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    no need to boast, mitchell!


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