This is a pretty light article… simply reporting on what is being said a conference in Texas, but there is a challenging quote from Leonard Sweet. He says, “The “Achilles’ heel” of the church is the practice of attractional Christianity. “It’s all ‘come and see’ and not ‘go and be,’”
I agree with this quote, but it certainly challenges what has long been defined as “church”. The Augsburg Confession says, “The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.” Other translations replace, “congregation of saints” with “gathering of believers”. I would not argue that this is a faulty definition of church. In fact, I would claim quite the contrary. I do wonder, however, if we might need to reconsider what constitutes the “gathering of believers”. It is good to come together as the congregation. I love to worship with my brothers and sisters on Sunday mornings (or whenever). This Sunday morning gathering has long been a place where the Word is consistently proclaimed in my life, and where I am fed by Christ’s presence in the sacrament. But are there other ways that we can be the Church in the manner described in the AC outside of Sunday morning? The challenge comes, I think in our clerical control of the administration of the sacraments. Is there a way that we as clergy might “faithfully administer” by equipping the “laity”?
If Sweet is right… and I think he is… is this realization of Church possible under the structure and systems that exist in the larger church?