The first century church, while persecuted, was vibrant and alive as Christians gathered in true fellowship to learn, share and grow together. It seems all they had was the Word of God and each other.
These days church seems to have lost its critical importance in the lives of believers. Church is one of several institutions vying for our attention, and to some folks, attending once a week for an hour seems more like a chore than a privilege.
Pastor Gary Gilley joins us today to discuss how church and biblical theology must regain its importance in the lives of believers.
Pastor Gilley is known for his research books like This Little Church Went To Market: The Church in the Age of Modern Entertainment, and his latest book is titled, Out of Formation: Spiritual Disciplines of God and Men. Dr. Gilley has been the pastor at Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois since 1975.
In the Word and in Church
Acts 2:38-42, Galatians 1:10, Romans 12:2, 1 Timothy 3:15,
- What can the church do that no other institution can do?
- What are some of the reasons why theology and doctrine are minimized by Christians and churches today? Why have Christians lost interest in it?
- What has replaced theology in Christian life?
- Some believe we have entered the “experience” economy. People want an experience and every organization is offering to transform people’s lives (watch TV commercials and observe what they are offering – not so much a product as a life-changing experience.)
- True theology must both teach truth and call people to live out that truth.
- Without sound doctrine, discipleship is not possible.
- What are the consequences of not making Scripture and doctrine a priority?
- How should the church respond?
Concerned we are not effectively making disciples of Jesus Christ as we are instructed, Pastor Gilley believes we’re at a crossroads as too many people want to be entertained at church and focus on relational issues rather than doctrine. He said “When doctrine dwindles, discipleship can only limp.”
The world has changed so rapidly that many of us are getting whiplash. The church has been put in a unique and difficult position by standing for the truth which has been thoroughly rejected by the majority. But in darkness light shines best. May the church not cave to the demands of the many but honor the Lord who has set them free from the bondage of darkness. Gary Gilley
Thanks to a phone caller, Gary talked about the “worship industry” as well as the right and wrong way to worship at church on Sunday mornings, and the fact some churches look at Sunday services as a competition with other churches. Regarding a lack of sound teaching today, Gary said, “If the church does not speak into this vacuum then someone else will.”
The “thinkables” of the eighties and nineties will certainly include things which most people today find unthinkable and immoral, even unimaginable and too extreme to suggest. Yet—since they do not have some overriding principle that takes them beyond relativistic thinking—when these become thinkable and acceptable in the eighties and nineties, most people will not even remember that they were unthinkable in the seventies. They will slide into each new thinkable without a jolt. Francis Schaeffer, 1979