Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rethinking the health of “the church” worldwide

If half of what I read today by Christian bloggers or users of social media site like Twitter is to be believed, “the church” is in a real mess. 

The assumption of many is that “the church” doesn’t reach out to the lost, is weak, sinful, and divided. This is true, on one hand, and always has been.  The letters of the New Testament were often written to address problems just like these.  There really has never been a “golden age” for the church, per se.  The spotlessness that the Bride will bring to her Groom will be because of the righteousness of Christ, not because she has cleaned up her own act. 

On the other hand, it could also be argued that, worldwide, the church has never been healthier.  Consider these four “tweets” that I sent out by Twitter this morning:

  • Did you realize that developing world Christians outnumber Western ones fourfold?
  • Did you realize that worldwide, the Church is growing like crazy and that this is the #1 reason for its being persecuted?
  • Did you realize that most Christians worldwide can't and don't thank God for their freedoms and still the Church grows?
  • Perhaps it's time we stopped judging the health of the church by our experience of it. God is at work in the world today!



Jesse Lane said...

Great post! I am someone that has a burden on my heart for the church and have definitely done more bashing of the church than anything else. I appreciate this perspective and agree that there is so many amazing things going on around the world in Christ's church. I think there are a couple of reasons that I, and many others, are negative about the health of the church.

1. Like you said, we are constantly surrounded by the negatives and rarely reminded of the positives.

2. I (we) are aware of the awesome potential of a united, passionate, and Spirit-led church that is committed to the common goal of bringing God glory. I think about it every day and it produces in me a desire to call people to action and make the church even healthier!

Thanks again for the post and for all you do to shine light on the persecuted church. This is a great discussion to have.

mingsish said...

I think that most of the comments regarding poor church health are made specifically regarding the apostasy found in the western church, America and Western Europe. There is much reason for rejoicing over the amazing health of the persecuted church.
We thank God that we aren't persecuted in the west; but i wonder at thanking God for not giving us what He calls blessing. Perhaps it is not that He has blessed us with non persecution but that we have not been counted worthy of it.

Glenn Penner said...

I agree, mingsish. Take a look at my blog last week "Is the Blood of the Martyrs Really the Seed of the Church" I make pretty much the same points you do.

Matt Keegan said...

Well said! Regardless of the state of the church, Jesus will have an unspotted bride presented to Him. This means that even in her worst state the church is very much loved by the Lord, so why shouldn't we love each other?

Lorraine said...

I am so thankful for the ministry of VOM, because I see that it brings to light much that is happening in the church worldwide, and has helped me to have a greater love for the Body of Christ - His precious Church. We have become far to introspective in the west, and this is one reason that I want to spread the word about this ministry - it opens peoples' eyes to what God is doing in the Church worldwide.