The ninety-sixth thesis (2): practical questions of church reform

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Consistency in Lord’s Day worship and fellowship is the best predictor of Christian character and spiritual growth and maturity that we know, and we watch for it.

I’ve heard the argument (from a pastor, no less!) that Lord’s Day worship isn’t “how people change” so we should therefore “de-emphasize” the Sunday gathering in favor of mid-week home-group fellowships.

There is a correct observation in there: There are far too many churches with dedicated Sunday attendance, but no fruit in the lives of those who gather–even after years or decades. But it doesn’t follow that Lord’s Day worship is unimportant. It’s also comparing apples and oranges to say that because most preaching in American protestant churches is ineffectual, therefore all preaching is inherently ineffectual.

No, having some hymn singing with another family or two in your living room and reading the Bible together and ending with prayer doesn’t cut it. Unless, that is, you’re in China and this is the way you avoid imprisonment; or Iran, and this is the way you avoid death; or you’re out in the boonies of North Dakota and there’s no Protestant church within three hours’ drive.

This is a needed word. There’s been a lot of romanticizing of house-church movements in recent years. There’s nothing wrong with house-churches if that’s what’s available, but there has been a movement over the past several years that holds up house churches as the ideal and stigmatizes churches that own property.


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