The Seven Last Words of the Church
Ralph Neighbour. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973. 182 pages.
Who shall print our congregation’s yearbook? How long/short should Christians wear their hair/skirts? Should we allow people wearing jeans into our congregations? Are deacons commissioned or ordained? Is ordination for life?
Thus churches spend their time discussing these concerns while abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, poverty, divorce and an encyclopaedic despair constitute the agenda for our society. Little wonder that the church is considered irrelevant in our time, being seen as one of the more reactionary elements of our society. “If Jesus Christ came back to earth and saw what you have done to His church, He would sue you,” says someone in Two A-Penny. Briscoe, pastor of a youth-concerned British congregation, points out the cultural irrelevancies which have prevented churches from meeting real needs, especially those of the young. Neighbour echoes these comments, also writing from a pastor’s perspective; he is especially critical of the building programs that create museums instead of worship centers. Interesting enough, he says nothing about education and the new approach for congregational training that may need to be looked at. Woodson’s book emphasizes evangelism, and is one of the few books on the subject that takes seriously discipleship and discipline as consequents of evangelism.