Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 7, 2014

Excerpt from a book about to be published

I wrote What Has Your Church Become? as a reflection on a lifetime of participation in the church.  It is about to be published.  Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:

What I am about to write are some thoughts on the small part of church history that I have observed. Rather, should I say, how the history of the church seems to unfold, perceived through the small window through which I look at it.

My thoughts at first were to write a critique of the denomination in which I grew up and in which I learned so much of the strengths and weaknesses of the church. This would not have been difficult. Anyone, especially someone who has been part of any manifestation of the church, can easily find reasons to criticise the church. In fact, the church is prone to being attacked. Attacks on the church from those who are not believers prove that it is not even difficult for “outsiders” to criticise the church, although their knowledge of it may be scant.

Unfortunately, the church has itself done much to justify attacks. In this introduction I wish to look at some of the tendencies for which the church has been criticised. In many modern cultures the church has lost much of its impact. As the church loses power, it looks for things by which it might ensure that it will at least have some place in modern society. There are a number of straws at which the church grasps in this effort.

1.1.            Seeking to please at all cost

In its quest to remain relevant, the church has been misled to regard its own relevance as being dependent on secular qualifications. This is totally wrong, since the church is not a secular institution and therefore cannot hope to imitate secular institutions and still remain relevant.  The relevance of the church is to be found in the relevance of Jesus Christ who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and yet always contemporary. God is always up to date, never outdated, constantly moving forward as He makes history. God encompasses the whole of time and eternity.

For the church to strive to be acceptable in “modern” times by trying to become a post modern phenomenon is therefore entirely unnecessary, unless the church has lost its unique characteristic. That is, the characteristic of being the people of God.

1.2.            Entrepreneurism

As described by a former chaplain of the United States Senate, the church has in many cases become more like a business than God intends it to be. I was shocked one day in South Africa when a pastor remarked that he had “the franchise for” a specific denomination. Subsequently, when I told him of my plans to plant a new church in the area, he was upset and explained his reactions as follows:

“We can talk spiritually as much as we want, but in the end you and I both know that a church is like a business. And if you plant a church, you will of necessity take a slice of the market, leaving less for the rest of us.”

Pastors have in many cases become managers of what appear to all intents and purposes to be businesses.

1.3.            Materialism

Linked to the above is the phenomenon of materialism. Small wonder, since materialism provides the basis for the main criterion by which success is measured in the world today.  We are inclined to talk in numbers: “how much” or “how many” are the catch phrases in our conversations. The church has succumbed to this. Our “success” is measured in terms of the number of members or people who attend our services; in the size and value of our buildings; according to the size of our budgets.

1.4.            Power and money

The logical sequence between cause and effect is evident in the way in which money lends power to the possessor. The more money one has, the more power one will have. This phenomenon has invaded the church as supposed indications of success (money), and as one of the prime temptations (power). Add to this sex, and you have the recipe followed by Satan in bringing many a pastor and church leader low. But because this follows other aspects of the deterioration of the church as described above, it is impossible to deal with this problem on its own. It is just the symptom of a much deeper problem. The root is what has to be removed for the church to be healed.

 

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Responses

  1. Dit is tragies maar ek kan net hiermee saamstem! Elke nuwe beweging van die kerk begin as gevolg van die waarheid en dan oorweldig al hierdie faktore dit net eenvoudig weer. Die nuutste is die hoeveelheid gemeentes wat gestig word, en veral die oorsese gemeentes. Maar redding en wedergeboorte word net ‘n lastigheid wat inmeng met al hierdie ander waardes!

  2. Great excerp from Veroni’s book. It can be expected that this book will have a great impact on Church leaders. I will definitely read it.

    • Thanks, Ernrich. I hope it blesses you and many others.


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