Who Are the De-Churched? Part Two
by Skye Jethani, Out of Ur, April 8, 2010
The following is part two of a post I shared from the Out of Ur blog. I posted the first part on March 19. To be frank, I think Jethani’s conclusions are seriously over-simplified. He seems to boil it down to being a loving, caring church that will keep people from de-churching. And while I think that is a significant part of the solution, I believe there’s much more to it than that. One piece that I believe needs to be addressed is how well does a church handle and foster divergent opinion? Is it a safe place, not just for "sin," but also for "heresy"? Can people dare voice perspectives that fall outside the doctrinal framework and cultural assumptions that exist in church? It seems like new movements of God always start out as heresy by people who are viewed as sinners by the existing church structure. The "sinners" and their "heresy" are kicked out and then these church outsiders start a new moveent. If churches are not willing to risk the allowance of divergent, prophetic opinion, people will continue to de-church rather than stay in an out-moded system and turn their brains off. I would welcome your reaction to Jethani’s article and my opinion and your own suggestions on how to address those who de-church. –Todd
I ended Part 1 of this post with a question—what is the church to do about the growing ranks of the de-churched? I believe the answer depends on which de-churched group one is talking about. In Part 1 I identified two sides of the de-churched population—those who have left the church because they had received a false gospel, and those who have left because they’ve encountered the true gospel.
Let’s start with the false gospel side. As Matt Chandler explained, these de-churched are fed, knowingly or unknowingly, a false gospel of morality. They believe that if they just follow God’s rules he will bless their lives. When things fail to work out as promised, they bail on the church. Christian Smith, a sociologist of religion, has called this belief MTD—moralistic therapeutic deism. I prefer a more sinister and downright damnable name: Moralistic Divination—the belief that one can control and manipulate God’s actions through moral behaviors. Continue Article Here