Considerations on Church-Renewing Movements 5
“5. This leads naturally to a fifth point. Like it or not, there is no firm calculus for making good judgments in this arena. Perhaps this is why some people stay clear of the whole business of renewal. They are acutely aware that, in thinking about renewal, what is ultimately needed is a very rich gift of ecclesial and spiritual discernment. It is easy to go astray; more specifically, it is easy to fall prey to a kind of utopianism. ( . . . ) On the one hand, people who crave for radical and substantial change often feel very incompetent and helpless. In such circumstances, they are liable to follow any leader who is confident enough to lead them to revival. On the other hand, there are leaders who are only too keen to become spiritual dictators. They can easily develop spurious justifications for their fiscal and moral aberrations” (p. 4-5).
- Is this program overreaching itself by “over selling” its product? In other words, does it promise that by following the programmers’ precise steps the church will be resuscitated and become the local super church? Is it all mechanical and technical, with steps of success up the ladder of influence (“If you will only follow these 5, 15, or 40 steps, your church will blossom and flourish and you can then write books like this one.”)?
- Does this particular plan promote the notion that “this is the real, genuine New Testament/Holy Spirit/Early Church way to do things. And if we would only get back to it we would see life again”?
- Does the particular reviving format approach renewal as, “This is how it worked in my church, and by being like me or doing like me, you too will accomplish victory”?