Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Does the fruit prove anything? Part One

For the record:
  • I want this Church to grow
  • I want the whole body of Christ to grow
  • I want this Church to be blessed by God
  • I want my whole body of Christ to be blessed by God
  • I want both these things in terms of number and depth.
Within that context I want to raise something that sometimes bothers me.

I am slightly uneasy when I hear or read comments which basically seem to imply "newfrontiers is growing so we must be right". That may not be the intended meaning, but it certainly sounds like it.

My basic problem with that idea is the same could be said for aspects of the Mormon church, which I do not believe is an evident sign of blessing from the truine God. It is just way too simplistic.

What is growth measured in? Numbers on a Sunday? Bums on seats? I know this is important, but not in isolation. What about maturity and spiritual depth?

I do think God is blessing newfrontiers, as He has, by His grace, blessed all sorts of sinful people over the ages. I don't think it makes us right on everything. Maybe many of the values we hold are godly values, but we may be wrong on some stuff, and we may not know what.

The fact that God is undoubtedly "blessing" us with growth does not make us right in everything. It can't do. So we can't just pick and choose the certain values we think God is blessing us for. And use our "growth" as a defence against those who disagree.

There are arminian Church groups growing. There are all sorts of different shades of evangelical churches growing. There are plenty of growing Churches who hold an egalitarian position on gender. There are even, drumroll please, certain liberal churches that are growing. The pseudo-Christian cults have always started off with a major growth spurt. What did it prove?

I want to be blessed and see the Church grow. I am certain it won't prove anything about me, but it will prove quite a lot about our gracious God.

In my next post I will cover what concerns me about "he pastors a big Church" kind of stuff.


Mark Heath said...

excellent post David. This kind of simplistic equating of "success" with the favour of God is not helpful.

Andy said...

Islam is growing quite a lot.

Jongudmund said...

There are plenty of growing Churches who hold an egalitarian position on gender

Heretic ;)

dave bish said...

Very helpful.