I came across the following article on Ligonier Ministries, the online home of Dr. R. C. Sproul, Sr. In the article you see some of Michael Horton‘s thoughts from the forward to Sproul’s new book-length critique of Roman Catholicism. Horton outlines four disturbing trends that seem to be infiltrating and becoming the norm with in the evangelical church.
Here are the four trends that Horton identifies in the article:
- We are all too confident in our own words
- We are all too confident in our own methods
- We are all too confident in our own good works
- We are all too enamored of our own glory
Horton provides some further explanation of what he means by each of these. While these trends are related and connected they are each detrimental to in and of themselves. Our failure to see, evaluate and fight against these trends is no excuse. As the church, we have a responsibility to guard our hearts with and for the Gospel.
What makes these trends particularly disturbing to me is how easy they have been accepted in the church. At times I wonder if we actually think we are getting the Christian faith correctly, when we might in fact be getting it wrong. That is the most disconcerting reality that these trends reveal. Over the course of the last few years I have come to realize that while there are a few areas that need significant improvement in the church, there is one that is terribly lacking–we no longer see theology as important or necessary. Theology is what academics, theologians and pastors do. That is not for the “lay” person. The study of theology is not about getting degrees or increase ones knowledge. At the heart of theology is God himself. To devout our lives to the studying of the person of God. This should be the desire of every child of God.
This discrepancy was pointed out when I had a conversation with a friend at a recent weekend retreat. He was talking about my tendency to use “church” words when I talked. He was describing how he felt that doing this could potentially be discouraging to young listeners or new believers. However, he had started to tell me that this was changing for him because in every other area of life we have to learn the vocabulary. If you are a doctor, lawyer, engineer, baseball player or online gamer, you have to learn the lingo. Why is the church so afraid to educate her members?
I have some thoughts about why we do this. They tend toward the not so flattering, so I will keep them to myself for the moment. For the time being I’ll just say that part of it is fear in one form or another. Feel free to read the article below and comment your thoughts.