A recent broadcast on the White Horse Inn 7/27/08) asks the question, Who Needs the Church? That question was prompted by the writings of George Barna - author, pollster, researcher, church growth guru, etc. Here are some direct quotes from his book, Revolution:
"Believers do not need to find a good church, but they should get a good coach."
"In just a few years we will see that millions of people will never travel physically to a church but will instead roam the internet in search of meaningful spiritual experiences."
"Based on our research...by the 2010, 10-20% of Americans will derive all their spiritual input and output from the internet. Ours is not the business of organized religion: corporate worship or Bible teaching. If we dedicate ourselves to such a business we will be left by the wayside as the culture moves forward. Those are fragments of a larger purpose to which we have been called by God's word. We are in the business of life-transformation."
This broadast is part of a larger series on Pelagius and Pelagianism: the teaching that mankind has not really fallen from grace and we are capable of making ourselves right with God without divine assistance or initiative. Woven into this discussion is the theology of Charles G. Finney which is an updated version of Pelagianism.
Against the backdrop of Barna, Finney and Pelagius, Dr. Michael Scott Horton summarizes modern trends and contrasts it with Biblical (and Reformation) theology:
"When you put Pelagianism and Gnosticism together you get the inner light of the Quakers. Basically, if it's an interior works-righteousness, (then) I am creating the church: I and you and all of us as an aggregate are creating the church by our activity. What we are saying is...The Church is the creation of the Word...When God speaks his word, primarily through preaching, when he preaches Christ a community appears out of nowhere."
Click on the link for a thought-provoking discussion on the biblical basis for the church. NOTE: this discussion includes comments on race, apartheid, and niche demographics and their negative effects upon the church: White Horse Inn (Dr. Michael Horton) - Broadcast Archives