I have reached a point in the book where I personally am ready to bring my thoughts to a conclusion. There is much to commend in Bean’s book, but in order to implement the positives, you have to do so in a totally different framework from the one Bean seems to advocate. There is nothing I have seen brought out in the book that would cause me to conclude that becoming a non-goer is necessary at all. Everything she sees as a need for change can be accomplished as a church body. It does not require removing oneself from church attendance. It calls for the church to look inwardly to provide support for the Body and outwardly on the world’s needs.
I have noticed a very alarming movement in Bean’s approach towards a form of humanistic framed spirituality. I know that sounds strange, but I have not seen that Bean communicates the true gospel message at all. She is an advocate for social change and that is all I detect in her writings. The Christian message proper seems lost. She begins to address how to create alternatives for what the traditional church offers. Why does she feel that this is necessary? She is in the process creating a pseudo church. which is what would naturally happen if the message is removed from its proper context. She wants the community, the social ministries, the relationships, the spirituality but she has disintegrated the contextual framework on which those ideas are based and in which they have their true meaning. I am talking about the biblical framework and God’s desire for establishing the Church. She has opted for a false replacement. As I kept reading her book, the words secular substitute kept coming to my mind.
So many of her ideas for ‘being the church’ would be beneficial, but only when practiced within their biblical context; not the context into which she is trying to thrust them. She, in my opinion, is losing the biblical context and compromising the true reason and mission of the church. I noticed these in her examples of what a group study would look like. “Food potluck was accompanied by a study of agricultural metaphors in Scripture…Bring your most creative dish meals were a good match for art immersion day, as was an Ethiopian meal when we learned about maternal health in Africa.” These may have been interesting studies, but they do not compromise the essentials of the gospel message. These are things talked about in social groups or interest groups, and in that context, that is fine. But do not confuse these with the main message and task giving to us by God to preach to the world the things of Christ. This is in my opinion one of the reasons why a church body is necessary. It keeps us focused on the real mission.
I am going to move on to other blog interests. I hope that these past blogs have made you aware of the dangers of removing the true gospel message and its preaching from its proper context. We, as believers, are intrusted with the message of salvation through Christ. We must not be distracted from that end by allowing one aspect of our calling, the social aspect, to become the major message that we preach. We are to meet needs and to commune with each other, but for the purpose of presenting Christ clearly and in a way consistent with the commission we have been given. Be aware of substitutes that contain a portion of that calling but not the whole. Christ gave His life to establish a way for His Church to be with Him forever. We must not forsake the mission to grow His Church. So in Bean’s writings, I accept the message that the Church must reach beyond its doors to impact the lives on the streets. We will do that as a Family of God gathered. I will remain a goer!