Whatever Became of Church? (Part One)

Editor's Note: This is the first of three blogs on the demise of a robust understanding of "church" in modern evangelical life.

Near the beginning of my rather short tenure as a seminary president, I sat in the boardroom of a prominent Christian business leader to try and pitch a vision for contributing to theological education, specifically student scholarships.  Instead of listening to the opportunity, or asking pertinent questions as to the value of such an investment, he was determined to boast of his company's identity as a Christian enterprise.

He told of the mission trips he had taken with his employees, the investments the company had made from its profits in select boutique parachurch ventures, and the Bible study offered on-campus for employees.  Throughout his self-congratulatory spiel, he took more than his fair share of shots at local churches and pastors who were not as "alive" as he and his company were in their faith.

Forgive me, but he was insufferably full of his own spiritual self-importance and virtue, as if he had drunk a bit too deeply from the fawning of countless pilgrims who had come to his corporate offices to laud his beneficence and ask for his generosity.

Like me.

At the time, as a new seminary president facing an inherited budgetary shortfall of over one million dollars, I was willing to endure almost anything - or anyone - for aid.  I smiled and nodded, affirming his many self-ascribed accolades.

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