Friday, November 10, 2006

Manless Churches: A New Problem?

My close friend, Ken Barbic, reviews Cortland Myers' Why Men Do Not Go to Church in the latest issue of the 9Marks newsletter (PDF).

When you read quotes like these below that Ken cites, you might expect that the book was written in 1999.
Society, business, politics, home, and everything have undergone a marked change within the last quarter of a century. The church has lost her grip upon these times if she does not move with them (15).

The old truth is sacred; old methods may not be. Truth cannot be changed; methods must always be changing. Aggressive inventiveness is the greatest factor in success from the human side (15).

The church for the times must meet the needs of the time. It must be of the Columbus spirit, and, with consecrated determination, discover the new world. It will find the discord in the music of modern life, and bring it back to key-note and harmony. It will brave any storm, and sail any sea to reach the great continent of man’s needs, and to satisfy the longings in his heart (19-20).
The reality is that Myers wrote in 1899. And just as the problem is not new, neither is the methodology that says, "Find out what men want and then give it to them." This is the soil of religious culture in which much of evangelicalism and fundamentalism has been rooted for more than a century. May God grant us the grace to prioritize getting the gospel right over getting the method right as we seek appropriate and effective means to make disciples.


Ryan Martin said...

Interestingly, the early church was often characterized by its detractors as only appealing to women. The great opponent Celsus said that the Christians targeted, among other subservient classes, women and children. This may be a charge that Christians upset the social order more than anything else, however.

Anonymous said...

Is this a picture of Ken Barbic or Cortland Myers?

Ben said...

If it's Cortland, he looks rather young and hip given that he wrote his book more than a century ago.