I believe the Church of tomorrow is going to be even more beautiful than the Church of today.
I believe the reason for this will be a growing depth of understanding the Bible.
I believe a breakdown is happening in the Western Church right now. A deconstruction of sorts.
While some can only see the destruction though, I see the reconstruction that’s coming next.
I don’t see it because I’m a “cup half full” kind of girl (though I usually am). I see it because there’s already concrete evidence that this is coming.
Sometimes, for something to be done right, an undoing has to take place first. For instance, a potter might begin molding a clay mug, and then realize he missed an important early step in the process. In this case, in order to start the process over again, he might turn off his potter’s wheel and gather up the wet clay into a ball. This is the deconstruction step.
But then he starts again.
And the new mug is much stronger and more beautiful because of it.
What if the destruction many see happening now in the Church is really the Potter just gathering her up in his hands, to make her stronger and even more beautiful than she is right now?
What if the Church has nothing to fear? What if the Church can trust God with great hope?
What if we all refuse to fear, but yield with great calm, to the loving hands of our Potter? What would this look like? How would we do this?
ADMITTING WE DON’T KNOW IT ALL
The first thing we must do is take inventory of our theology.
And then we must be willing to hear what God says about it. We must stop settling for status quo religion that isn’t making a difference in our lives or anyone else’s. This is exhibit A that our theology isn’t God’s theology. When Jesus came on the scene, he rocked the world. His teaching was not the teaching of the scholars. No one had heard anything like it before. But it was real and true and God’s.
God’s theology (that is, understanding God from his own perspective) blows people’s minds and changes their lives. They want it. They don’t want to live without it.
So let’s be courageous like the people in Jesus’ time who dared listen to his deep truth, though it sounded new to them.
If there was a chance your current understandings of the scriptures weren’t fully God’s, would you be willing to loosen your grip on them?
Take time to really consider this.
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S ROLE
The second thing we must do, if we want to be rebuilt by our Potter, is to let the Holy Spirit teach us.
In recent history, the Church has focused on the teaching of man. We’ve defaulted to academia to lead the way through the Scriptures.
Listen, I’m all about the in-depth academic study of the Bible. But man and man-made systems must not lead us in our academic study. The Holy Spirit of God must lead us in our academic study.
This means, you and I need to gain a good handle on how we “walk in the Spirit”. How we live from the glorified Christ through his Spirit in us.
We must also begin every study of the Scriptures in prayer. Ask that God through his Spirit would lead you into his own meaning of the text.
THE PERSPECTIVE OF OTHERS
One of the sweetest seasons of my life included a friend who walked very closely with me in my research journey. We could talk for literally hours about the Bible. I remember one fall day in particular we went for a long hike and talked literally nothing but theology for 4 hours straight.
I would share my recent research findings with her, and she’d ask me a million questions. She’d think of Bible passages I hadn’t considered, and ask how they fit in or if they proved my hypotheses wrong (though she’d word it more gently than that). She made me think through things from a whole new perspective.
And this meant, our time together usually lead to the furthering of both of our understandings of God.
Seeking God honestly and humbly among community has the effect of iron sharpening iron. If we’re willing to come together, learn together, ask and be asked honest questions together, and humbly consider each other’s thoughts, we’ll be greatly sharpened!!
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. (Prov. 27:17)
Friends, bright days are ahead for Christ’s Church! Never forget that the gates of hades will not prevail against the Christ we are built upon. We have nothing to fear. (Matt. 16:18)
Have courage to see what’s happening today as the key to a brighter future ahead.
Have courage to let Christ deconstruct everything he wants to.
If he’s deconstructing, he’s also going to reconstruct.
Have courage to admit you don’t know it all yet.
Have courage to learn again.
Have courage to trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Have courage to trust he can and will lead you into all truth (John 16:13)
Have courage to believe he’s up to good things.
Oh he’s so good.
And oh! We’ll come out stronger and more beautiful because of it.
But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. (Jer. 18:4)
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