Sunday, December 10, 2006


Hmmm...there has been a bit of noise around the blogs this week about the emerging church. It appears that a well known radio preacher has sent out a fund-raising letter blasting the emerging church as heretical, or at least dangerous, doctrinally. Nice response here by Dan Kimball, and another one here from Leighton Tebay. Very nice responses, so I won't add to them.

<idle musing>
This does raise a very interesting question, though. What is the biblical basis for fund raising letters for oneself/one's own ministry?

I know that Paul writes about money a good deal, and we would do well to take it to heart. But, does Paul ever ask for money for his own stuff? I don't recall it. He asks on behalf of the church in Jerusalem, which is loaded with theological significance to him, since it is the first fruits of the inflow of the gentiles described in the prophets. But, does he ever ask for it on his own behalf?

Maybe I am wrong (wouldn't be the first time), but I tend to think the model shown by George Mueller and Hudson Taylor is more scriptural. They made their requests known to God, and he supplied their needs.

In fact, if you read Hudson Taylor's biography, you will see that he was more concerned that God would send the right people than he was with money. At one point he had more money than missionaries to use it, which caused him to opine that he always figured that when God sent the person, the money would follow and that money was of secondary importance.

Perhaps our current obsession with fund raising letters is a result of how we view the church. Is the church the organic body of Christ, or is it just another organization to be run on American business principles? How we answer that question is foundational to how we act. Are "decisions for Christ" what the church is all about? Is spoon feeding hearers propositional truth what the church is all about? If so, then business principles might apply. If, however, the church is about relationships between people and between people and God, then we need to seriously reexamine how we "do church." To run a church (or ministry) on business principles, complete with surveys and 5 year plans and mass mailings and logo-ed charge cards(!!! don't get me started on that one) is to do violence to the concept of the kingdom of God present in an assembled body of believers.

How can we expect to bring about the kingdom of God by fleshly effort and methods? Well, the subject of that sentence says it all, doesn't it? Anytime the subject of the sentence is anything other than the triune God, results are, at best, poor substitutes for the presence of the living God in the church as a body of believers (2 or more!).

Now there is a radical thought—two or more. That means that when I am with my wife, or my kids, or co-workers, or friends, we are "doing church." Kinda blows the mind, doesn't it? Drop the dichotomy of secular-sacred and walk in the presence of God all the time! Wow! Sounds so—well, scriptural!

OK, enough rambling for one day...
</idle musing>

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