unrelated, undigested, and unillumined

I usually try to avoid only posting quotes, but again today I read a piece (from 1954!) related to my post, "enter to win...what!?!"

But no matter how high the doctrine of the church to which a particular confession may adhere in actual practice its congregations are a gathering of individuals who know little of Christian community in the biblical sense and expect little from it. Like secular clubs they meet in their various groups to hear speakers on a variety of topics which are usually unrelated, undigested, and unillumined by Christian faith. The Church’s theology, traditionally so triumphantly and vigorously theocentric, tends now to be dominated by anthropology, by volume after volume…on the nature of man and the basis of his social thought and action. The worship of the Church has been heavily influenced by individualistic pietism, concerned largely, not with the social organism, but with the individual’s need of peace, rest and joy in the midst of the storms and billows of life. The self-centeredness of the pietistic search for salvation tends to exclude vigorous concern with community. Hence, the modern Christian searches his Bible not unlike the pagan’s study of his sacred literature, the purpose being to find inspirational, devotional, and moral enlightenment for personal living, and nothing more. The sectarianism of the Churches, and their racial and national cleavages, are further expressions of an individualism which distorts the nature of Christian society and provides excuse for the world’s individualism.

(G. Ernest Wright, The Biblical Doctrine of Man in Society, quoted in Stanley Hauerwas, Unleasing the Scripture)


lluopa said...

I think often times in Christianity, people focus so much on winning others that they lose themselves. I believe salvation is about making yourself whole then allowing God to direct. Filling your life with ministries and services is not the goal. Churches tend to focus on what pleases people instead of what pleases God. They get too caught in the frilly stuff. They see the Bible as instruction manual to living instead of a magnificent love story. Vision is narrowed by this so called "ideal holiness." Church can often miss the lessons and rawness of life.

PS: As someone who is also into sociology and religion, I like your blog. :)

David Warkentin said...

Hey IIuopa, thanks for the kind words - welcome here!

"Churches tend to focus on what pleases people instead of what pleases God...Church can often miss the lessons and rawness of life."

Well said!

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