Enemies at the Gate: Four liberalizing trends that threaten the contemporary church
Study historical theology and one of the trends you will notice is that churches and institutions almost always drift into apostasy and spiritual decline. Earthly organizations seem to have an almost unavoidable tendency to degenerate—and if they continue to exist at all, they will for all practical purposes become totally secular. The ones that continue as religious institutions (like the papacy and the eastern orthodox church) grow corrupt, both doctrinally and often morally, and wherever they remain dominant they produce spiritual blight.
I suppose that's because human institutions are built and populated by people who suffer from total depravity. And it usually takes only a generation or two before the founding principles are abandoned or amended beyond recognition.
My faith is not shaken by that. The Lord is not building an earthly temple or a worldly society, so the dissolution of human institutions, while sad and deplorable, is not a disaster of eternal proportions. The only Christian institution God is building is the church of Jesus Christ, and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. Individual churches may fail; the church universal will ultimately be the Church Triumphant...
|Mar 7, 2013