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27-07-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

images19 Recently, a radio documentary (“No man lives to himself ‘) received an award. The radio show of about forty-five minutes followed the course of the aging Advent Church (PKN) in Assen. What kind of church is this and what is her fate, without young people? It is a beautiful, but also a very sad documentary. Church members and their dropped-out children were interviewed. The local lady-preacher was asked to explain the developments and trends that have taken place. Previously, there was no opportunity to ask questions in the church. So could it happen that a whole generation dropped out, she explained. Fortunately, that is different in her church. The radio producer observed:

… In the Advent Church it is now allowed to ask any question. However, you do not receive answers, because the questions, themselves, have become more important than the answers.

The preacher confirmed this. Her church is …

a group of people, who do not know it all, who have questions and are not so much looking for the final answer.

The radio producer asks the preacher.

But is Christ not risen from the dead? Is not that the essence of the Christian faith?

The preacher does not really know how to answer this question. She says:

I believe in the metaphor of the resurrection …

Whereupon the radio maker asks: So Jesus is dead

And yes, the preacher confirms it. Although she does believe in miracles. Whereupon the radio maker asks her:

So you believe in miracles, but not the miracles of the Bible? Then comes the climax of the broadcast (33rd minute) as the radio maker submits a statement to the pastor he had heard from someone…

The main problem of the church is… we do not believe it anymore.

When the preacher is faced with that, she sighs (literally :)…

Yes, yes … I think … in the final analysis of the matter, that is the point.

This documentary brings flawlessly to light why this Advent Church is as good as dead. And there are bunches of churches and congregations that have the same problem. They especially busy themselves with ‘keeping things together,’ lest they lose even more people. But the problem is not that there are too few people going to church. It is, at most, a result. Also, the kind of music is not the problem. Those are just marginal questions. Not the empty church is the problem, but the empty message. They have no answers to the big and tough questions. They have no message. What remains are meaningless rituals, plus a handful of elderly people who cling to their customs from childhood. But everyone senses: such a church has become a fossil; without conviction and without power ‘to build’. And above all, without a message of solid content. Paul wrote nearly 2,000 years ago:

… if Christ has not been roused, for naught, consequently, is our heralding, and for naught is your faith. Now we are being found false witnesses also of God, seeing that we testify by God that He rouses Christ… -1Corinthians 15:13-15-