August 14, 2022

Errors in Thinking

Rut, Rot, or Revival
Rut, Rot, or Revival
By A.W. Tozer

In the first chapter we discussed the stages of decay in a church.  Today we’re going to look at how Christians get it wrong.

What would be your reaction if your pastor got up on Sunday and told you that your church was stuck in a rut?  Or worse, you were starting to rot, and your pastor was going to ask the congregation what to do to get out of it– what would they say?

How about some of Tozer’s suggestions:

  • “Let’s come together and eat something.” — Let’s have some more fellowship and get to know one another better.
  • “Let’s make plans to go somewhere.” — Let’s travel to some place on a missions project, or change our scenery.
  • “Let’s come together and do something religious.” — Let’s go do something, because just the effort of doing something will improve moral.
  • “Let’s form a committee to consider it.” — We aren’t smart enough to solve it, but if we put our best minds on the topic, maybe they can come up with something.
  • “Let’s start another club.” — This just masks the true problem.

Tozer contends that these, and other answers you may have come up with, come out of a misunderstanding of the problem.

  1. They misunderstand the nature of Christian Faith.
  2. They misunderstand the nature of the Church.
  3. They misunderstand what is wrong with them.

First, the problem is not an external problem.  It’s an internal one.  You see, our faith is something that happened inside of us.  We accepted Christ into our heart.  It is there that He dwells.  If we’re stuck in a rut, it’s not because something external happened– but something internal.

Second, if your church is in a rut, it isn’t the church’s fault– unless you’re thinking of the church as a body of believers.  The church is a body of individuals.  Here is where the Biblical illustration of the “body of Christ” is handy.

Right now, my left pointer finger hurts– it’s distracting especially when I’m typing.  Doing some jumping jacks isn’t going to help the finger– I’m going to have to do something about the finger directly.  When the local church is in a rut, it’s because multiple, individual members are caught in a rut.  The way out is in fixing the internal lives of those that are caught, not in the externals.

Third, the question is how are you.  “How well or how sick the church is depends on how well or how sick the individuals are.  In other words, it depends upon how you are.”  We need to be about the process of comparing what we are with what we ought to be.  Go to the scriptures and look for the places that talk about who the Christian should be.  Look at Matthew 5:3-10, Ephesians 4:26-5:2, and Galatians 5:22-23.

How do you match up?

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2 thoughts on “Errors in Thinking

  1. I think this is especially true in our post-modern churches…and don’t get me wrong, I believe the church that fellowships together has huge capacity to evangelize together and much potential for growth. This is a hard place to be, thinking about where “we” ought to be as a church, because then people have the tendency to point fingers and place blame.

    You (and Tozer!) raise some good points here.

  2. Right on, Mary. The problem I see with churches that split and those that have difficulties (esp those that are caught in a rut) is that those in the church are quick to say that it’s either the institution’s fault or someone else’s fault. They want to cast the blame somewhere else, when, in reality, they are part of the problem.

    It takes real humility to look at oneself and say “I’m the problem” or “I’m part of the problem” and to change to be more like Christ.

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