How to Destroy a Church

I’ve been going back through Carson’s The Cross and Christian Ministry (see July 3rd post, “Why Why Why?”) and making some notes from the sections I highlighted. This is proving a bit difficult because I highlighted almost the entire book. It might actually be easier for me to get an electronic copy of the book and just delete the parts I didn’t highlight.

This portion was particularly compelling to me this morning:

“The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Rank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it – admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively on the long haul. Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it. Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembly of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness [may I add pettiness?], sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism – all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church. And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple’ (1 Cor. 3:17). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (83-4).

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