Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Church Wars (again)

"Unlike other churches who died a quick death after the vote, this church took a slow acting mortal wound."

A very disturbing story in the paper this morning. But before I get into that, a bit of review. A few years ago, I wrote an article about "Church Wars". It was about a wonderful church that both my wife and I attended for years. There was wonderful music, powerful messages, excellent service opportunities, and tremendous fellowship. We were going to go there for the rest of our lives. Have our funerals there. Then the bottom fell out.

The liberal wing of society got ahold of the ELCA church. There was a vote at a national convention about the ordination of openly gay pastors as well as recognizing gay marriages. It passed. And that vote spelled the end for many congregations across the land. Some churches decided to go along with the ruling and stay ELCA. Some split off into a different denomination of Lutherans. And some (like our now former church), split right down the middle. I was a bad day, it was a sad day. And we still grieve over the loss.

Flash forward to today. One of the churches which did manage to hang on is (was) a huge ELCA church in the northern part of the cities. In its heyday, this church was nothing less than awesome. It supplied trainers to other churches for the Alpha Program. It had over 7,000 active members. It was huge and impactful. And then came the ELCA national convention vote. 

Unlike other churches who died a quick death after the vote, this church took a slow acting mortal wound. It split after a messy divorce within itself. The remaining church tried very hard to keep going. To stay relevant. Then other issues crept in. The female head pastor thought there was "sexism" within the church. That accelerated the death spiral of this once great church. This month, this Twin Cities mega-church, is closing its doors - forever.

It is said by many of the faithful that Satan camps the closest to where the ministry is strongest. Sure seems that way with this church. A church which has done so much good for so many, is now gone. All that remains are memories. 

The next time you are in church, remember this. A church is only as strong as the faith and resolve as the people who attend it. Once the corporate church decides to stray from biblical teachings, nothing good happens. It is only a matter of time before that church becomes an un-church.     

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