We are confronted today by a strange spectacle: those who presume to provide spiritual leadership, those whom we might hope “the Holy Spirit has made overseers to feed the church of God,” appear to be more confused and uncertain than those whom they are to lead.
There remain, of course, many leaders who firmly distinguish right from wrong and separate truth from error. But the general confusion seems so deep and so widespread that laymen who are hungry at heart often cannot perceive which leaders are faithful to the truth. In their discouragement they try not to be greatly concerned; life already presents enough burdensome complexities. And as a consequence, men drift into agnosticism and indifference. Millions simply do not try to determine who is right and who is wrong; often they conclude that no one really knows.
Something is drastically wrong in the Church. We read of the “religious dilemma,” of the “paradox of the Church.” Men do not hesitate to assert that the institutional church is impotent, dead, or dying. How true it is that few churches show anything very desirable about the Christian life. “As an active and dedicated churchman,” writes Keith Miller, “I had seen from the inside that to call the Christ of the New Testament Lord of the average congregation’s contemporary activity in any true sense was preposterous.” He is honest and he is right.
As a lawyer with no theological training but with a good deal of earthly experience and some training in analyzing fields and reducing confusion to communicable basic issues, I think we ought first to isolate the problem. What is really wrong with the Church?
Many orthodox Christians will say that the main issue is whether or not the Bible is the Word of God. Certainly that ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more