The ultimate purpose of the church in this world is to become the spiritual milieu in which followers of Jesus are nurtured into the full stature life of Christ. As a result God and his kingdom are made attractive to a lost and dying world. Unfortunately neither of these truths defines the church in America today. Multiple studies reveal the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of Christians are barely distinguishable from those of persons in the world. The ejection of God from most all aspects of American culture is pandemic. Whereas the founding fathers acknowledged the Bible as foundational to America’s shaping jurisprudence, efforts abound today to eradicate nearly every vestige of Scripture from public life. By any legitimate measure, the church is utterly failing in its biblical mandate to see believers conformed to the image of Christ. Consequently, the church has become savorless salt in a morally, ethically and spiritually rotting world.
The Last Church Standing: Becoming the Church Jesus is Coming for, attempts to forthrightly examine the spiritual condition of the church in light of biblical, historical and theological precedence in hopes of awakening, enlightening and energizing the presently disenfranchised priesthood of believers. It is the author’s contention that once sincere followers of Christ perceive the biblical reality of authentic church, as juxtaposed with its transmogrification existing today, they will passionately choose truth and join that pilgrimage that culminates in growing up into the full stature of Christ.
To realize this believers must become “Berean –like” in their pursuit of truth. They will have to begin questioning accepted teachings learning to weigh them against biblical reality. It is not the author’s contention that churches are intentionally misleading their flocks, but rather that they are failing to proclaim the fullness of the gospel. For example, portraying salvation as gaining heaven and avoiding hell rather than perceiving it as coming into completion in Christ is tantamount to declaring another gospel (Gal 1:6). Teaching discipleship as the adoption of an accepted standard of behaviors rather than as the very individualized, Holy Spirit sponsored transformational life leaves believers ignorant of God’s ultimate intention. When the church propagates the unbiblical doctrine of a laity/clergy dichotomy, it disenfranchises believers from their biblical calling.
The Last Church Standing is an effort to see the church through the biblical prism of its Focus, Function and Form in order to accurately capture God’s eternal purpose for it. The church’s focus is its vision or revelation of what it understands to be God’s eternal purpose and intent for man. It seeks to answer the question of what this grand experiment is all about. What is God’s ultimate intention regarding man? The church’s function has to do with how the church conduct’s itself in light of God’s ultimate purpose. Do the day to day activities, workings and conduct of the church reflect its commitment to God’s eternal purpose? The church’s form has to do with the structure the church adopts enabling its proper functioning toward fulfilling God’s ultimate intention.
For the church to fully participate in the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, it will have to throw off its institutional restraints and rediscover its biblical roots. It must relinquish its worldly obsession with size, numbers, staid liturgies, professional ministries and building-centered programs and choose to fully embrace the transformational life in Christ. The church Jesus is coming for won’t be defined by denominational distinctions but by the manifestations of his very life.
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