Quotes from one of Kevin Deyoung’s chapter in the book We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion.
Changing the World
For starters, the purpose of the church in missional circles is often reduced to one thing; community or global transformation. This point is repeated several times, but it is never really defended. All Christians agree that the gospel has social implications. Most probably agree that community transformation is a good thing. But where do we see Paul talking to his churches about transforming their communities? Where does Jesus, with the corrupt oppressive Roman Empire in full sway, seem interested in world-changing initiatives? It may be implied in passages about the cosmic lordship of Christ or living good lives among the pagans or praying for the king, but the concerns of the New Testament seem to have little to do with explicit commnity transformation. (38)
We also need to reflect more carefully on the difference between the responsibility of the church’s calling and the individual Christian’s calling. Without this distinction, the church gets overwhelmed and overburdened with good ideas. (40)
So as much as the church has been nothing but a a holy huddle at times and as much as I admire zeal for good works, there is a danger in much of the missional literature that the gospel of God’s grace toward sinners gets swallowed up in urgent calls for world redemption and cultural transformation. There is a danger of centering our churches on adopting schools and offering parenting classes instead of being centered on the message of a heavenly Father who adopts unworthy children of wrath through the work of His Son on the Cross. There is a a danger that we find our unity in doing good missional deeds for our community and not in the good news of the gospel. There’s a danger our Christianity becomes all imperative and no indicative, all about what we need to do with God and little about what God’s done for us. There’s a danger that when people get disinterested in the gospel, they get disinterested in the church. And once they leave the church, they’ve left the one institution whose mission aims for eternity and whose gospel is truly good news. (51)