In response to my last blog (IC Light: A Beer and a Church), a friend of mine made this statement: “I do see the similarly between IC Light Beer and the IC Church. Both are imbibed with hope that neither will leave the burden of added weight or responsibility.” He’s much smarter than me, so please allow me to dumb that statement down a tad.
Neither a light beer nor a light church is going to weigh you down. Beer can put on poundage. Churches can put on responsibility. Most of us don’t want to be weighed down with either.
Is your church worth her salt?
The problem, of course, is that any church worth her salt is going to challenge us with the Word of God. God’s truth is generally going to be accompanied by personal responsibility. My friend’s point is spot on. We want neither the extra blubber nor the personal responsibility. Therefore, IC Light…
In case you didn’t read the previous blog, I encourage you to go back and do so. If you don’t have the time or inclination, please allow me to briefly fill you in. IC is the abbreviation used by former church attendees to derisively refer to the Institutional Church. They call us names, in part, because we have backed off from Scripture and have chosen what passages to emphasize (as opposed to teaching, and living by, the entire Bible).
In 2 Timothy 4:3, the Apostle Paul tells his young protégé, “The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends.” It seems like that time has arrived. Consequently, we have church lite.
As a pastor, I fully understand the temptation to preach around the tough parts of Scripture. Some subjects are difficult to address. Some congregations are difficult to address as well.
When we decide as pastors and congregations that we’re going to avoid certain parts of the Bible, we are proving the Apostle right. No pastor wants to be harassed by his/her congregation because of the truth. On the other side of that coin, some members leave because they just don’t want to hear it. Along with hearing comes responsibility.
“Resurrection power is found only in the truth…”
These two things work together to create local churches that are rendered irrelevant or impotent. Missions suffer, denominations shrink, and congregations die out. Resurrection power is found only in the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help me God).
Our lack of pursuing the truth is shamefully prominent in today’s church. We have, too often, relegated God’s Word to a footnote on what we’d rather do. I have no doubt that I have unwittingly played a role in that from time to time myself. We can offer no excuses—only a promise to put on some spiritual weight from here on in.