I disagree ideologically in the idea that the next generation can be moved past the ideals of the current generation, while still holding to the same ideas. It is not the practice of the current church which has created a burden for the coming church, but rather an idea. The organism of the Body of Christ has become replaced by a machine with parts labeled organically. Covenant relationship, apart from argument and accountability, has become a catchphrase for irreducibly complex components, rather than intricately, and personally balance distinctions in polity.

I look at the next church, those grown out of orthodox institutionalism, to address the needs of the future world, and I see a hard working machine that is intent on relationship through autonomous associations. These associations are termed as servitude and volunteerism, as well as a justified responsibility. They are seen as the natural outworking of one’s faith in Christ and an obvious witness to those without that faith. But in this social contract to seek the evidence of our faith, I wonder if this really is any different than any number of altruistic organizations which proclaim an ideology of servitude, while discarding the need for a relationship with God.

Is it any wonder that the original church was not known by their works, but by the way in which they love? This love, one might point out, was not a form of philanthropic altruism toward society or locale, but toward each other. This love was so substantial because it made the claim to absolute and effective spirituality in contrast to a community of fake answers and pseudo-philosophies.

The distinction between Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Man is a fact-value split that creates a legacy which ultimately splinters into a version of the next church that is disconnected from those it serves and from those who gave birth to it. A spirit of servitude must first come from a mindset of submission to God’s grace, vision and sanctification for it to be anything more than an after-school program, no matter how big, or how much praise it gets. True spirituality does not start with repentance or servitude, but rather a proper understanding of relationship with God, that breeds such things. Confession comes before being a servant. Without that, the future is doomed, no matter how many servants it has.

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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