Day 3 in an annual reprint in anticipation of Reformation Day.
On the Evangelical Church and Its Congregations
39. The New Testament designates God's elect "The Body of Christ," and therefore the Church's role in the world is to do what Christ did: proclaim and embody the gospel of the kingdom.
40. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.
41. Much of what passes for church in America will be prevailed against by hell.
42. The local church is intended to be a loving community that truly treasures the gospel.
43. The Church in America is generally not community-oriented and mostly treasures itself.
44. The American Church loves itself more than its neighbor.
45. The message of the evangelical American Church has shifted from bold proclamation of Jesus to an inordinate application of "biblical values."
46. The American Church loves the spirit of the age and idolizes relevancy.
47. Consequently, the American Church has lost its courage to preach repentance and its faithfulness to the gospel.
48. The American Church needs more and more bold elders and ministers willing to be missionaries for the gospel to evangelicalism.
49. The number of large churches has increased, but the number of professing Christians has decreased. This means what we are being told is working isn't.
50. Churches are spending lots of money on unnecessary and selfish things.
51. The Church must repent of its idolization of personality and business principles.
52. The Church must repent of its idolization of political power and prestige.
53. The Church must repent of its idolization of the self and its failure to find Christ sufficient.
54. The Church must repent for its neglect of and casual approach to the sacraments.
55. The Church must repent of its idolization of "cool," in which we dishonor our parents, spite our brothers and sisters in the faith, and merely set ourselves up for the sins we perceive in them -- appearing "of the times."
56. The Church must return to feeding its gathered people the Word of God, not therapeutic motivation, on a regular basis. The Church must return to cultivating community, not maintaining programs.
57. The tide can turn in American evangelicalism if we will return to our first love.
(Tomorrow: 19 theses on the pastorate.)