I've listened to this talk three times since this postt. Perhaps I will listen to it again soon. I found it to be very thought provoking. In many ways, Mr Perks spoke directly to some of my concerns for the church. I'm still assessing his comments and there are a few that I'm not sure that I totally agree with, but in essence I think that he makes some salient points. I loved the emphasis on the Kingdom of God. Thinking about my most recent institutional church experience as recently as last year, I've been noodling a lot on the idea that my old church was as much about worshipping the institution of the church as it was about worshipping Christ. The degree to which the creeds and catechisms and confessions and doctrines and church order govern the worship of our Lord and King are staggering. Try changing the order in which you take up a collection in some churches and you will have a riot on your hands!
Having come from the Reformed tradition, I found Mr. Perks' comments about Reformed and Presbyterian churches particularly damning. I agree wholeheartedly that both of these churches are singularly tied to reenacting the events and preaching of the Reformation at each church service. Or at least the perceived events of the Reformation. Protestantism originally stood in opposition to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and its notion that we need to have a human priest to have access to God. Anymore today, however, many churches are run by powerful groups of elders or an all-powerful pastor. Yet how is this any different than the RCC? Other than the fact that one uses full-time staff where the other does not (at least when run by elders), Protestant churches look very much like the RCC when it comes to telling its adherents what and how they should believe. Yet when Mr. Perks suggests that we ask our pastors to live and teach the Kingdom of God, I feel like he's embracing a system that has utterly failed the church. As lay members of Christ's church, there seems little reason to use the institutional church as a clearinghouse of ideas when Mr. Perks himself argues that the church doesn't understand the problem to begin with.
Perhaps Mr. Perks' greatest point was that about Scripture never telling us that we must pray for the church. I guess that it could be argued that the growth of the church is just a subset of the coming of God's Kingdom so we must pray for that as a part our prayer that God's Kingdom come. Certainly I can agree that our churches have become idols and that we must eliminate those idols. We have no need for fancy buildings or professional staff to witness God's great love and mercy to both the church and our neighbor. So I think that our prayer must be that God takes mercy on His people for our unbelief and that He leads us to a greater understanding of His will for our lives.
In summary, I feel very strongly that Mr. Perks' views here are a real blessing to Christ's church and plan to give them even deeper thought in the future.0 0 0 0 0 0 0