MR: Today the prevailing view is that church is boring and irrelevant. Would you be so kind as to address this?
Dr. Boice: Yes, that is the prevailing view and I think it has a lot of justification. I am in a lot of churches that I find boring and irrelevant. How do you get a church to not be boring and irrelevant? Do you just hire a band to make church fun? In such a case, church might cease to be boring, but it would not become relevant. And in order to make your church relevant, do you give messages on topical issues like psychology and politics? That might meet people's needs, but is it relevant to the church?
So the question really requires thinking through what we are trying to do and the place to begin is to discover what is the purpose of church? Well, church is the gathering of the people of God. Then what do we do? What are we there for? Well, we are there for fellowship, to enjoy one another's company. But chiefly we are there to meet with God. We come together to learn from God and worship God. What worship means is to ascribe to God His attributes; to recognize and praise Him. But in order to do that you have to be taught. The Reformers understood that very well and they transformed services from celebration in the Middle Ages into teaching fellowships where the word of God was taught and where the people responded to God on the basis of the teaching.
I recognize as a preacher that there are unique problems faced in preaching to a world that is geared to entertainment and used to television with its fast moving images and attractive personalities. Preachers have a hard job. Today, I do not know how you could do as the Puritans did, for example, and preach three hour sermons. Our culture has created limitations in the church. In a given church there might be several limitations. You could be called to a church where the people have never heard a sermon longer than ten minutes. Even a half hour sermon may be difficult for the congregation to endure. But that is why you have to keep in mind what you are trying to do. You can make progress, but you have to work in the right direction. I think we have great grounds for improvement in our worship by moving in the direction of better biblical teaching and sounder theology. I recognize that takes time.
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Issue: "Wanted: Thinking Christians" July/August 1994 Vol. 3 No. 4 Page number(s): 24-27
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