bits from bob....
The magnificent Lutheran church building in Bremen, Germany is impressive both in its beauty and its size. Martin Luther preached in this building. The voids left where statues and artifacts were removed are still obvious reminders of Luther's thundering condemnation of idolatry. Here the cry for reformation stirred Germany, Europe, and the world.
This building overflowing with worshipers is difficult to imagine today for only a handful of people assemble, and the worshipers are outnumbered by the professional singers and musicians. A beautiful church, but no people!
With this description, John Gipson introduces a reminder of what happens when we "neglect the church." Where there are no people, there is no church. "What will the church do?" is always answered most accurately by "What will you do?" What will the church do about evangelism? About poverty? About family disintegration? "The Church" as an institution will do little! The church is people, believers united in brotherhood, wearing the marks of love and togetherness which have always marked the body of Christ. The church is people sharing, enthusiastic about echoing forth the fundamentals of faith, aware that the message of the Messiah always elicits (at least from some) a response which makes disciples and marks through baptism those who are disciples. The body of Christ follows the instructions of and honors the head, Christ.
When A. W. Tozer described the religious philosophy of modern man, he likely had little idea that he would also describe the religious philosophy of many who claim to be Christian:
Alexander MacLaren said, "The vigor of religious life demands special seasons set apart for worship. Unless there be such reservoirs along the road, there will be but a thin trickle of a brook by the way. It is all very well to talk about religion diffused through life, but it will not be so diffused unless it is concentrated at certain times."
With Gipson's conclusion I concur: I call upon every believer to understand how important every worship service is, and to commit to be present. Otherwise we may find ourselves guilty of "neglecting the church to death."
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