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Mere Churchianity

February 23, 2011

Adrian Warnock says that he feels that enough time has passed since Michael Spencer’s death.  Spencer, better known as the Internet Monk, wrote Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality in 2010.  Warnock says:

He is perhaps over-critical of Christians at times, but rightly makes the point that many within the Church we have in many ways lost our way. You might not take it quite as far as he does when he says, “unbelievers see some things about life, integrity, and consistency much more clearly than Christians do” but you surely understand what he is driving at.

Spencer is also very critical of how many of us try to do a deal with God:

Religion is our negotiation with God to try to get his help in exchange for our good behavior. We promise to do what we’re told, and we expect God to reward us. This is a straightforward business arrangement, and we fully expect it to work.

Spencer’s real disappointment in the modern church is that it seems to have left behind many of the things that Jesus stood for and has instead invented a set of social rules. These rules, often designed to put a hedge around sin are actually nothing short of legalism in most cases. As Spencer puts it (and I agree wholeheartedly):

For millions of Christians, the great failure of the church is its failure to be a resource for producing and encouraging the life of discipleship. Instead of discipleship, the church has taught a life of rule keeping, with the rules set not by Jesus but by religion and traditions. Long ago the church replaced the Kingdom of God with church activities and priorities.

UPDATE: Warnock has added another post on where he disagrees with Spencer.  He has also added a third part where he advocates bringing Jesus back to the center of the church.

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