Is The Church A Fortress or An Army?

22 10 2007

FortressWhen you read the New Testament do you get the picture that Jesus and Paul were hoping that some day there would be thousands of Christian fortresses across the Earth where the people of God could gather apart from the world once per week and then disperse individually back to their normal lives? Or do you picture an army of disciples in small platoons, living life as one and going throughout the Earth training disciples, confronting evil and spreading the Kingdom. My experience is that 99% of Christians say they picture us like an army but sadly my experience has also been that 99% of the time Christians actually build the church like the first picture – a fortress. These two pictures are not compatible. They are drastically different visions of the church and you can’t become an army by building a fortress and you can’t win a war by only playing defense.

For the past 6 months our community has been in intensive discipleship training. We believe training is not something you do for a season but something every disciple is doing continuously. But training for what? An army trains for two reasons – to defend AND to attack. Jesus and Paul were almost always playing offense and the modern church seems to almost always play defense. It’s time to rethink our strategy.



One response

22 10 2007

The NT church looks like an army, not a fortress.

I suggest the contemporary church, at least here in America, mostly looks like neither one. It looks more like a resort, where you are attracted by the marketing, purchase your ticket, come in, sit down, get comfortable, and have the illusion of an experience, then go away feeling nice but not having done anything, really.

This describes, I would submit, the whole spectrum of ecclesial experience, from fundamentalism to evangelical to liberal. There are a few bright execptions, but mostly the contemporary church engages in a Christianity which is supposed to be comfortable, mildly diverting, and which doesn’t threaten comfort, security, the investment portfolio or the appointment calendar. Sadly, it describes my own experience as well, a fact which I am trying to change.

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