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Kenton Slaughter

February 26, 2013  12:13am

In fact, a large part of the problem with churches (those that aren't religiously stale and spiritually dead) is that they've tried to be too relevant and "modern", with "Christian" programs and "Christian" activities and "Christian" fun/entertainment, or with secular programs and secular activities and secular fun/entertainment. And both models cease to be relevant, because both seek to give people only what they naturally crave (whether provisions or moral approval or entertainment), while withholding the very thing they need, the very thing they would never seek on their own! And just to be clear, the church that seems stridently religious and yet is lifeless does the same thing (it just takes different forms). What do they lack? The gospel. It's cliché but true. Just read all of Romans 12. What compels us to love and truth is the gospel, and it keeps the church grounded in the physical and spiritual needs of others and therefore eternally relevant.

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Kenton Slaughter

February 25, 2013  11:59pm

What is the "purpose" of the church? That is, I believe, the first relevant question. Is the church's primary purpose the "benefit [eternal or temporal] of it's as-yet non-members", or the eternal benefit of its members? Yes, all physical good needs to be done, but the purpose of the church is for the spiritual benefit of Christ's people. The world's relevance is, "Provide but don't preach". But true relevance is not determined by what changes, but by what remains eternal. What is irrelevant is what the world demands of the church; we serve God. What is relevant is what the world needs. Finally, who are we being made into? "Major improvements on the previous version of ourselves?" We are being made into Christ's image as his pure virgin, as God's children, because Christ died to bring us to God. This is our identity, this is our purpose, and this is the aim of our good to others: to bring them, with us, to God. We implore, through word and deed, "Be reconciled to God!"

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Dr. Norman L. Martin

February 21, 2013  10:09am

Some of the responders to the article seem to have either missed the point of the author of the article or were more interested in the plight of the U.S. Post Office. In my life time (72 yrs.) I remember the mission emphasis was on sending dollars to those doing missions foreign and domestic. I am thankful to God that younger Christians have led to way and more and more local churches are becoming missional. My own downtown church is involved in many "hands own" ministry's with member involvement in our economically depressed area. From food closet to children and adult programs in a trailer park, to sending our members to various places in the U.S. and the world to spread the love of Christ while meeting physical needs. Many churches, unfortunately are like the Post Office, are in a survival mode hanging on to what they have left ignoring their changing neighborhood. They end up spending all their energy protecting the shrinking core. God has better plans for His church.

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Steve Skeete

February 20, 2013  6:48am

Talk about the Church 'dying' can only be about the church as an organisation. The 'organism' that is the universal 'body of Christ' cannot die. The postal service was built on the fact that people wrote letters and sent small parcels and needed a means that was the most cost effective. Modern communication technology has rendered letter-writing almost unnecessary, and several other services deliver more quickly than the Postal service can. The 'organism' that is the Church is not like the postal service. Like air, water and food, the soul-redeeming, life-changing message of the gospel can never be rendered superfluous, neither can anything replace it. The anvil that is the Church, has 'worn out every cultural hammer' and will continue to do so 'even until the end of the age.' Church organisations may from time to time outlive their temporal usefulness. However, those who remain true to historic Christian faith and practice will continue to be agents of change in a changing world.

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Grady Walton

February 19, 2013  5:22pm

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop the church. Come on folks, Ms. Simpson clearly was not talking about the demise of the entire Christian church throughout the earth. I just wish I knew why there is a diminishing interest in matters of faith by my fellow Americans. I suspect it is partly because we Americans are a bit too comfortable, or, as the Bible puts it, overfed and unconcerned. Other reasons I hear from people who express no interest in darkening the doorway of a church are the accusations that Christians are mean, judgmental, pushy, and hypocritical. (Excuses, excuses, excuses.)America is a nation of independent minded people, and that is not always conducive to the intimacy of group life found within the church. There is also this: America has been the big dog in the ecosystem of Christianity for many generations. I wonder if God feels it is time for us to pass the baton.

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