‘…the doctrine of the church!’
Again, that’s according to Andrew Katay.
Apparently something like 60-70% of Sydney-siders claim to believe most orthodox Christian doctrines. And a surprisingly large number have attended church occasionally.
Yet this hardly translates to active Christian commitment to the local church — and all that follows from that.
Them’s the facts.
Plenty of people have theories about this — or aspects of it (I’ve been working my way through some helpful stuff Mark Sayers’ ‘über’ team has produced on ‘why young adults are leaving the church’ — the links are down on the right hand side the page).
But Andrew suggested to our NTE mission team that a significant contributing factor is our own evangelical insistence that ‘You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian’.
It’s an understandable insistence, of course. If there’s one thing every good evangelical knows it’s that we’re not Roman Catholic. And Roman Catholics are big on the church — No Church No Salvation kind of big.
So we flip out to the other extreme.
But Andrew reckons that one reason our churches are dwindling is because we keep telling people (as we explain the good news of Jesus) that they don’t need to belong to church to be saved. So it’s no surprise that more people not drawn into Christian community!
That’s why Andrew feels that the doctrine of the church is the most important doctrine to grapple with. We’ve got to address this issue — without tripping over into a kind of Protestant nominalism (ie. ‘Just attending church will do it for you’).
What’s your feeling?