"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Reflection on PCA Pastor Terry Johnson’s “Our Collapsing Ecclesiology”

Terry Johnson

Terry Johnson, senior minister of Independent Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Savannah, Ga., wrote an article titled "Our Collapsing Ecclesiology" in the March issue of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's magazine New Horizons. The article is well worth reading, because it examines the recent trends in Evangelicalism away from attendance in Sunday morning services, even away from organized institutional church altogether. It cites George Barna's announcement of the "New Church," which is "without structure, organization, clergy, officers, accountability, or discipline. It has no location, commitments, or physical presence. It is merely an informal, ad hoc, uncovenanted association of believers." According to this view "the local church ceases to exist. The requirement of Hebrews 10:25 (that believers assemble together) could be fulfilled ... "in a worship service or at Starbucks." In the mind of these Evangelicals, "I am not called to attend or join a church. I am called to be the church." For them, writes Terry, "Church ... is like the YMCA, except that one actually has to join the YMCA. It's good to go there to exercise, but sometimes one can do just as well at home—or maybe somewhere else. "Do what feels right for you," we hear said. "Go where your needs are met."

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