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The Churchs Greatest Need
by Pat Knapp
Last month, in a radio interview on KWBI's "You Get The Blessing" I was asked what I felt was the greatest need for the Church today. I responded that the greatest need beyond any doubt is for the church to theologically train its people.
Training is greatly needed in the area of consistent theology and basic discipleship. In my opinion, this is grossly lacking in 95% of our churches. It is not popular to use the word "theology"-let alone teach it consistently. More popular is a desire to offer "support" in a "diverse" setting, hiding behind supposed antinomies in Scripture, not wanting to offend or cause "division among the brethren." Our unity and real growth as children of God requires that we be single-minded on who God is and how it is that He works with us.
Os Guinness, a true present day prophet, spoke of the importance of Christianity with content in a lecture here in Denver, Co. His primary concern was with the Church Growth movement. He emphasized that we should remain focused not only on our methods of sharing the Gospel but on the content of what the Gospel is. While many have given conditional nods to his concern, few are willing to take the plunge because of the perceived costs.
Churches need theologian/pastors on staff in addition to the prevailing "administrative" pastors (Eph 4:11-16). Additionally, our church mission boards need to consider supporting missionaries, with strong particular training in theology, to recover the lost passion for apologetics (1Pet 3:15; Jude 3). These missionaries need not only to be "reaching the lost" in our culture, but reaching the grossly misinformed and doctrinally naive within our churches.
Kingdom business requires Kingdom costs and risks that may be uncomfortable (for good reason) but necessary. We need to be about the Father's business of making disciples and not merely producing converts and comfortable church goers. This "easy believism" promotes low-level commitment to God, with a resultant low-level commitment to our Churches, families, and ultimately to ourselves as well. As a result, our perceived or presented needs take precedence over our real needs as defined by the Bible.
The Churches greatest need? To grow in the knowledge of Christ, knowing who He is and what He has accomplished for us, otherwise known as Theology. Paul's attitude toward this is reflected in his letters to various churches: Eph 1:17; Phil 1:9; Col 1:9,10; Rom. 1:28; 2Cor 2:14.
Without sufficient content, "process" and "relevancy" become our norm or standard of measurement and syncretism with the culture's values the logical outcome. It's not an easy task, this thing called "growth in Christ" but then again--He never said it would be.
grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen"
For books to aid in studying theology, see General Theology Books: Books-A-Million Recommendations.
The above article originally appeared in the
last issue of The Shield newsletter in 1992
and was titled, "A Parting Encouragement." Pat Knapp was the editor of The Shield.
It was posted on this Web site February 1998.
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