Monday, February 27, 2006

Diving Deep Into Shallow Waters

Last Wednesday Samuel Koiba, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), voiced a concern against the depth of theological teaching in so-called megachurches. I have two observations:

First, there are certainly some megachurches that are less than theologically astute. These are easily seen also because of their visibility within their communities and their impact on the world in general. However, many megachurches are large precisely because they offer a depth of solid theological teaching and ministry opportunities that doesn't exist elsewhere in their local area. They often appear to be corporate-like with their business because they must necessarily keep their functions streamlined and their institutions effective. With a church filled with so many fallen people, so much could go wrong that the church must be adept at maintaining an unwavering focus on Christ, His purpose and His glory.

What we miss is the analysis of theological depth in smaller churches. What percentage of small churches is theologically deep versus the percentage of large churches that are theologically deep? I suggest that many small churches remain small precisely because a lack of theological depth fails to feed people spiritually. Many focus only on ministry to themselves because they lack direction, not because they lack resources. One small church I visited once in the impoverished Irish Channel in New Orleans was alive and well and sending several missionaries from their small congregation.

So, while there are some megachurches that lack theological depth, there are at least as high a percentage of small churches that lack theological depth.

Second, the WCC is no bastion of theological depth, despite their claims. Many of the WCC member denominations deny the Deity of Christ or the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Others have a traditional stranglehold on the capacity of their members to seek the scriptures on their own or provide a format where the scriptures can be studied and good theology developed in the hearts of church members. See this for yourself on the WCC's Website. On the website of the Fundamental Evangelistic Association you can read a slightly pejorative, but mostly accurate assessment of the WCC. As an example of the "depth" of the WCC, you can read about an example of their flirtation with outright heresy.

I would take any warning of poor theology from the WCC with a mega-grain of salt.


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