Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

What people need from a church

There are three things that every human being needs, and the Christian church is the only institution on earth with the potential to meet those needs.

First, there is a longing in the heart of every man, woman and child to understand the meaning of life and their place in it. People who reject God also tend to reject the idea that there is any meaning to life. That leaves them free to live as they please, or so they think. In reality, we keep bumping into the consequences of our actions. That is frustrating and it sets in motion internal conflicts that cannot be resolved and often lead to despair and even suicide.

It may seem at first a restriction of our liberty to believe in a God who created the universe and everything in it and placed me here for a purpose. I don’t even have a very clear picture of what that purpose is, but as God leads me daily by his Holy Spirit my life is painting a picture that will one day make sense. To simply accept that is a wonderfully liberating experience.

Secondly, because we are created in the image of God, we have a longing to have a relationship with him. That longing exists in everyone, but most people cannot identify what it is and they try to satisfy that longing with all kinds of things that give a temporary thrill, then leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled again.

Thirdly, there is a longing to be part of a community of love and understanding.

All of these longings are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection are the central events of history and reveal the meaning and purpose of everything that came before and everything that has happened since. Both the good that has come when people did what God asked them to do and the evil that has been done by people who rejected God.

In Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and experience the love of God and the fellowship of his Holy Spirit. The bad things that we have done in the past can be forgiven, the wounds caused by bad things others have done can be healed.

This forgiveness and love then enables us to love and forgive others. If we become a follower of Christ, we will want to live in close relationship with others of his followers.

The real needs of men and women have not changed. The church of God does not need more and better programs, better music or more powerful preachers, we just need to trust that there is still power in the blood and grace to cleanse and revive. The Spirit is still calling the lost to repentance and the believers to lift up their eyes and see the awaiting harvest.

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