We feel so alone
No one believes the Gospel
We don’t feel much at home in typical American Evangelical churches anymore. I think we’ve changed more than they have.
I get tired of flashiness — attempts to be relevant, stylish, appealing — sometimes the marketing effort feels like it’s more important than the “product,” which is Jesus and the Gospel.
I’m tired of book studies featuring authors who seem a little too interested in wealth of the material kind, who dig strange things out of the Bible while ignoring the central message of the Gospel, or who keep things shallow and group-think-ish and cliche and pat.
I’m tired of devotional sermons and studies that are all about life applications, as if there could be any application more important than hearing and believing the Gospel, as if any good work could come out of our own effort apart from hearing and believing the Gospel.
Everyone will be puzzled and wonder what kind of churches I’ve been going to where people don’t believe the Gospel or talk about Jesus. But while all these churches say they believe it, and talk about him, really it seems the Gospel is assumed, taken for granted — we know all that already, let’s move on to the applications now.
People don’t seem to realize that Christians need the Gospel, too — it’s not just a witnessing tool to draw folks in, it’s the central focus and foundation and food of our faith. People don’t question enough to what extent they “get” the Gospel — they think, yeah, got that, and go back to their broken cisterns, mistaking them for living water, blaming their thirst on the inadequacy of their efforts, and trying harder.
Churches lately feel like that last therapist I saw — nothing really awful, nothing really heretical or oppressive — but also no real depth, no real substance, no foundation in the Gospel but just a collection of the usual kinds of things Evangelicals tell themselves and each other.
We would like to go to a church where a group studies a book by N. T. Wright or Tim Keller instead of Rick Warren or Joyce Meyer.
We’d like one that retains some liturgy — the call to worship, the praise and adoration, the confession of sin and assurance of pardon, communion with the words of institution, and so on.