Monday, October 31, 2005

The Panacea?

I'm not normally into using big words that nobody understands on my blog, but this one has come up in conversation a couple of times lately, and fits what I'm talking about.

It basically means any sort of cure-all, the answer to all of one's problem, the medicine that will fix any disease.

I do a lot of reading and talking to people about the various issues that churches face, why it is that churches aren't growing (even the larger Pentecostal ones-whose growth rate is often very transference based, and is still less than the overal rate of population growth anyway), and how we might go about rectifying these problems.

It seems that everybody thinks there's an answer, but nobody can agree as to what it is...

Byt he way, these are all gross over-generalisations too.

The Emergent types think that if we can translate our faith around our postmodern culture, faith will make sense again for so many more people and we'll be right. The Forge crew reckon we just need to be more missional, that if we make mission our driving priority-faith and church will sort itself out. The Pentecostals think that we just need more of the Holy Spirit. The liberals will say our view of God, church and the Bible is too restrictive, that our views need to be expanded and be more inclusive, and we'll be right.

The Restorationist movement (out of which Churches of Christ came) reckon we just need to get back to the New Testament church. House church people say if we all know each other, and have closer community, then people won't feel isolated and leave church. The seeker-sensitive people say we need to make our worship services more friendly to outsiders, and back people will come. Some alt.worship people will say we need to broaden our expressions of what worship and church look like.

Fundamentalists will say that our doctrine needs to be tighter, that if we believe exactly the right things, people will be attracted to the Truth we have. Some evangelicals will say that we need more evangelistic rallies, whilst the social justice crew will say that we just need to feed the poor, look after those less fortunate than ourselves.

See I think they're all right to a degree, and all miss the point somewhere along the way. Is there one answer, or is in fact the answer a combination of all of these?

9 comments:

owl said...

Good assessment, Digs. Each has
points to consider, but I think
John 3, Acts 2 and 2Thess 2
contain three important facts:
A deep, personal faith in Jesus
Christ is essential; salvation
comes via an out-pouring of the
Holy Spirit; there will be a great
falling away in the last days. I
believe these are reasons why
programs often have limited success.

Anonymous said...

Do you think there really is a panacea? We've all been made diff with deff personalities etc. maybe people need the different basis that works best for them?

Perhaps a good basis would be to truly follow Christ- and I think all those aspects should follow- If your truely prepared to live as christ and scarifice your life then doesn't that mean you'll have to live missionally, need to rely on the holy sprit, have an open mind to our failings, live in community without isolating, not live in a 'this is how we do it' box, but also be vary aware of truths, get excited and enthusiastic about life while having a heart for the poor.

Good in theory and easier said than done really- but Jesus was more than just helping the poor or speaking the truth or living the communitiy- he was all of that and more- why do we segment a christian life?

Digger said...

Haha anon, that was my exact next post!

Saemon said...

"Amen" (LOL - ironic) to Anonymous!!

Why are we so worried about the church? Jesus was never concerned about attendance numbers in church - wait, Jesus never actually went to, nor endorsed Church - don't tell the penties (with the exception of Mt 16:18) Jesus was on about the Kingdom of God - and how we should be living and loving within it.

Anonymous said...

Ha, sorry!- my comment was prob long enough to be a post itself!

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is no panacea... but it's a pretty cool word!

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