Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New Laodicea

The Reformed Church in America occupies a middle ground between liberal denominations like the United Methodists, the United Church of Christ, and those entertaining Episcopalians, and conservative orthodox denominations like the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, and the Southern Baptist Convention. This "moderatism" is attractive to many who prefer things quiet, and who dislike arguments over doctrine or polity. We do have arguments in the RCA, we are in the middle of one of the most contentious right now, but we have a habit of raising a little ruckus about something, and then coming to a consensus that at first pleases no one, and after a while becomes the accepted norm.

Welcome to New Laodicea.

This particular plot of real estate exists in the space between the two yellow lines in the middle of the road. Traffic whizzes by on the left and on the right. New Laodicea is a windy, dangerous place, and it is hard to travel any significant distance within its borders. Our theological documents are masterpieces of goobledygook, double-speak, and cognitive dissonance. The church is pro-life, except when it is pro-choice. We ordain women to the ministry, but if you object you can stay home when one is ordained or installed. We think homosexuality is a sin, except when it's someone we know and like and who pastors a nice church on Long Island. We don't evangelize much, nor talk about hellfire, or the wages of sin. We consider ourselves nice people, the kind of people who belong in heaven. We worry about declining numbers, and so we form committees and coached networks to address this problem. Churches say they want Bible preachers, but are horrified when they encounter this type of minister - someone with firm, biblical convictions. We elect representatives to higher assemblies, but our highest leadership is appointed in secret, and unaccountable to anyone. We belong to the World Council of Churches and send representatives to the National Association of Evangelicals. Most importantly, we ignore what Jesus Christ had to say about the Old Laodicea:

"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write...'I know your works, that you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot...I will spew you out of my mouth'" (Revelation 3:15-16).

Now that's just not nice. Not positive. Not programmatically constructive. Shame on me for putting that verse on this blog!


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