This book by David F. Wells (Gordon-Conwell) for the most part painted an accurate picture of the church in the 21st Century. I think there are some churches scattered around that do not line-up with this portrayal, but for the most part, I think he is accurate.
Here are some of his statements:
"The importance of theology is eclipsed by the clamor for management skills, biblical preaching by entertaining story-telling, godly character by engaging personalities, and the work of the ministry by the art of sustaining a career." Ethos is a word I heard (in relation to the local church) a few weeks ago while visiting with a former pastor. That seemed to be his "word of the week". It was what the church was about - its mission - bringing the lost to Christ - exalting Jesus in the dark area of the Triangle. Now, most churches use that term in a business term and want to run their churches like businesses. I do believe God wants us to run our churches well for the sake of the gospel - but not by shortchanging the gospel message.
"91% of people say that God is very important to them but 66% go on to say that they do not believe in moral absolutes, and 67% do not believe in absolute truth." How can all those things be separate? If we say that God is important to us - shouldn't the things that God holds important be important to us: morality according to HIS standards and TRUTH? I think most of us want God to be important to us so we can gain Heaven and have "fire insurance" but lack the poverty in Spirit to say that we want to live our lives by the nudging of the Spirit for living by a different set of standards.
"An evangelical faith that is not passionate about truth and righteousness is a faith which is a lost cause."
(Speaking of the Word) "It does not rest consequentially upon us." How often do I read the Word and have it not change me - in my innermost being? This is what happens in most of our churches on Sunday mornings. First, most of the churches in America barely have to open the Bible on Sunday mornings, but then how many of us can even tell others what the sermon was about? I heard one time that a person liked a sermon. When asked why, she said the liked the story about the dog. What does a dog have to do the gospel of Jesus? She couldn't remember what the sermon was about, what text was used, or truth revealed - but she like the dog story. That is a serious problem in our churches.
When I speak to women - I want the thing they remember to be the Word of Truth that was brought to them in grace and humility - the power of the Sword of the Spirit. I don't want them to remember what I wore, if I had my haircut that day, the video that was played. There is life changing power in the Truth of God's Word. Why aren't more of us using it in our churches during the week?