Michael Horton on what the Church REALLY needs

In doing some reading for my catechism lesson on Sunday (this week on the Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition of the 5th commandment), I came across this quote from Michael Horton’s book The Law of Perfect Freedom.

In describing the “youth-ism,” “now-ism,” and the arrogance of modern Americans (especially as it relates to showing “honor” by learning from ones elders in the faith), he writes:

This arrogance undermines out attention to honoring those who have preceded us and defending those who will follow. The immediate practical import of the attitude is illustrated in the intolerable evil of our national debt, whose interest alone exceeds the GNP. As child abuse and granny dumping rise on a personal level, preoccupation with ourselves tears the fabric of our national life as well. In fact, we ought to think of the federal debt we are leaving to future generations as a kind of child abuse.

In the church, this mentality has created Flip Wilson’s “Church-Of-What’s-Happening-Now,” where the latest and greatest drowns out the tried and tested.  The church’s equivalent of granny dumping in theological terms is its ignorance or outright rejection of creeds and confessions, in an effort to create the First Church of Youth.  Its equivalent of child abuse is its failure to catechize and instruct the children in the great truths of Scripture, preferring to spend the majority of the time competing with video games and rock concerts.  According to Gallup, one of the reasons many young people give for leaving the church is its failure to provide profound answers to their deepest questions in its headlong pursuit of marketing success.  They have MTV already.  What they need is a church that answers their questions.

The Law of Perfect Freedom, pgs. 144-45.

It’s when we go back to our focus on preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and administering the sacraments that we actually have something meaningful to say to the world.  As long as Churches continue to strive for “being relevant to the teenagers” or “attracting young families with new church programs” (insert your own modern mega-seeker-church-ism here), they actually do away with the best thing they’ve going going for them.  Oh sure to the spiritually ignorant, faithful Christ centered and law-gospel preaching may not sound as catchy as “7 steps to have a more vibrant faith experience life,” but then again, do we really care what they think – especially when there are the heavy and burdened hearts of God’s people who come on Sunday needing once again to hear the “good old story” about Christ’s finished work on their behalf.  That is what will keep Christ’s sheep coming back.  After all, that is the sweet, sweet taste of the gospel.

Oh that Christ’s church would long to honor her fathers and mothers in the faith, that they might reap the same spiritual blessings as did they!

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Andrew