I am working my way through Simon Chan’s great book, Liturgical Theology: The Church as a Worshiping Community again. This was a key book years ago when I was in the Assemblies of God. I’ve picked it up now as someone who has joined the Anglican Communion, so I’m reading it with a renewed passion.
Chan (as a Pentecostal scholar) gets at the trouble he was seeing in the evangelical church at the time. This was something I had been struggling with as well. We were mired in theological and moral ambiguity (p. 102).
We used the terms “mission” and “justice” and “social responsibility.” If you went to a Pentecostal/Charismatic church you certainly heard the word “worship” a lot. Our problem is that we used those words in pragmatic ways. We used them as tools to gain other things rather that seeing these as instruments of formation for the Church.
We fell to the culture of consumerism. We “shopped” for churches. “Mission” was about numerical growth. We looked at “most effective” means of growth. “Worship” was reduced to praise (a term I STILL struggle with when referring to our music director because he is NOT our “worship” pastor).
We’ve become “market-driven” in our approach to church. We’ve failed to ask, “What does it mean to be Christian?”
These are the challenges we’ve faced the last few decades. My fear is we’re still not addressing these issues. Our problems will only get deeper.