[261] Holism
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[261] Holism

In June of 2019, Mark Galli, the beleaguered soon-to-be former editor of Christianity Today, argued passionately against the notion that the purpose of the church is to be “missional, existing for the sake of the world.” If you believe the purpose of the church “is to make the world a better place, why bother with the church, because it is clearly not very effective in this respect.  Better to give oneself to UNICEF or the Democratic Party,” stated Galli.

Then comes the hook.  Galli is talking about mainline (in other words, theologically liberal) churches.  It becomes clear when he states that it is this missional notion that is among the main “reasons for the numerical decline of mainline Christianity.”

Methinks not.

The decline of mainline Christianity is much more about what Galli terms the belief “that it [the church] has to be a place where the world feels comfortable, it has dumbed down the preaching and the worship, so that in many quarters we have ended up with a common-denominator Christianity.”

That is the reason.  The make-the-world-a-better-place mission is a symptom of the mainline drift out of biblical orthodoxy.

And Galli was dead wrong about his larger, missional thinking.

One of the purposes of church, and the Christian college, most definitely is to make the world a better place.  There are two Great Commandments.  One is vertical, the other horizontal, and there is plenty in scripture about the horizontal one.  There are over 400 verses indicating God’s love for the poor, and over 70 affirming his concern for justice.  The church is called to holism—to minister to body, mind, and spirit.  In the city–where most people live–it is imperative that the church minster to the hurting and be a relevant social force in its own community.  Anything short of that has the church offering a stone when people ask for bread.  Anything short of holism—in the church or the Christian college’s understanding of discipleship–falls short of the words and example of Christ. DC

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