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My Bible Belt comment grew too large, so it has become its own post on my blog! Take a look to see my thoughts and response to Jeff and Mr."E".

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My Bible Belt comment grew too large, so it has become its own post on my blog! Take a look to see my thoughts and response to Jeff and Mr."E".

Jeff

E,
Thanks for asking that question. I am planning on making the "Bible Belt" installment a series. I'll be addressing that there; however, in brief let me respond in this way:
1. I affirm and deeply appreciate any older, established church, traditional, typical, or not that continues to "make the main things the main things, and those are the glory of God, the preparation and equipping of the saints, and the proclamation of the Gospel and discipleship of all peoples in all nations.
2. It is not just in my context or own local experience to say that most churches just want people present. In fact, there are several vibrant fellowships in my area that I'm grateful for and excited to see God working in their midst. Don't misunderstand my comments by reading local context into them. What I'm referring to is how churches want people present, giving, and accounted for at the expense of true discipleship, biblical accountability, and loving and authentic community. In fact, there are many smaller, traditional churches that have achieved these things better than some of our newer church starts and "star" churches.
3. Indeed, I hope that anything I write about the Bride of Christ is used in a way that spurs us all on to love and good deeds. If I make you think, even just a bit, about the reality of Bible Belt Ministry and how to lead people into a deeper relationship with Christ apart from religion, I would be deeply grateful.

Again, thanks for your insightful comments and I look forward to more conversation!

E

Curious to know what you find redeeming about the "typical southern church?" I am sure you have written about it but it seems the focus of most posts here are what's not so good about the typical southern church unless its one that has forged its own new way that is more spirit lead than one that's been around for 170 years (to me, there is somethng to be said for an expression of faith that has been faithful to the King for that long). The older an oak tree is the easier it is to see the knots and broken limbs that the tree has sustained over the years. Sometimes we don't see the the size of trunk or the life of the tree because of the scars it has sustained for being around for so long. Granted there are some churches that probably just need to die.

Finally I want to comment on this:
Interesting thoughts, huh? I think, however, that Eliff and other Protestant denominational leaders fail to get at the core of the issue. It's not just that there are a bunch of lost people naively attending church and assuming that they're saved. The bigger issue is how the church would rather have them there, in attendance, giving faithfully - than for God to be truly and radically glorified by having people worship Him in spirit and truth. The true worship of God is more important than the maintenance of our "ministries."
Perhaps there are churches that just want people there but to say that that is the bigger issus is just a hasty generalization of a "typical southern church." It's a suprising broad summation of the Bride of Christ that I would say is unwarranted and probably comes from your own local experience that has not been a good one.

If all of your comments here are meant to spurn the believer (or church) on as your last two paragraphs suggest, then I'm with you in hopes of igniting the fire of the Spirit in the churches so that believers are responsive to His call and the nonbeliever is brought to faith.

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