More Random (and I do mean random) Thoughts from Taffin

“Now, it is indeed a holy and profitable exercise in nourishing our soul to read God’s Word at home, meditating on it and instructing the family in it. God commands this. Those who are sluggish and indifferent in this exercise show that they have little concern for the life of their souls. However, this is not enough. We must also assemble to confess God’s name, to call upon him, to listen attentively to sermons, and to participate in the sacraments. We must join the church and remain in it, for it is the pillar of the truth and the mother of God’s children.” (Jean Taffin, The Marks of God’s Children, p134)

In light of the previous post and Pastor Kurt’s able response, Taffin reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun. Some 406 years later his words ring true as if they were in the latest denominational weekly. Low churchmanship is part and parcel what it means to be Adam’s son.

The means God has prescribed for church growth are relatively few and offensively pedestrian to the 21st century church. God never intended us to be clever with the gospel or to glamourize what it means to be a person of the gospel. He, not human ingenuity, will be the sole reason for the church’s prosperity (1 Cor 3).

Church health/growth comes down to the week-in, week-out gathering to confess sin, pray together, sit under Christ-centered preaching and observe the ordinances (to paraphrase Taffin). We simply cannot expect anything less. Borrowing from Calvin, Taffin considered the church the mother of the saints. I like that analogy and will chase it a bit. What made Mom so special was not primarily that perfect gift one Christmas or that great experience one Summer. It was because she labored day in and day out for my good. She cleaned up daily after my mess, encouraged my daily progress in school, prepared daily meals she knew I would eat, and prayed daily for my soul. In the end, despite my incessent rebellion she refused to be less than my mother.

Likewise, the church is not attractive because of her occasional “Porn Sunday” or the like. She is glorious because she meets every week for our good, regardless of the sex appeal. Despite my faithlessness, the church gathers each week by God’s design to hear from God. Every week we meet with other sojourners to keep sojourning. And what we most need is not for the church to be “cool” for us, but for God to be glorious to us. That doesn’t happen any way we want it, but only by God’s simple and prescribed means of preaching, prayer and holiness. (For the pastor this all means “taking pains with,” “paying close attention to,” and “persevering in” public Scripture-reading, exhortation and teaching (1 Tim 4.13-16); which, by the way, is hardly sexy and you don’t get ink for it.)

Many would say the church must be more than this these days, otherwise it’s not effective. But I say the church can be nothing less, otherwise it’s not a church.

2 thoughts on “More Random (and I do mean random) Thoughts from Taffin

  1. Barry,

    Thanks again for a very insightful post. This is a good corrective to Barna’s “Revolution” in which the church is minimalized into irrelevance. The church plays a vital role in the growth of Christians and provides them a place of active service to God. I shudder to think what my life might be like without the church.

  2. Thanks, Steve, for your thoughts. Not to be morbid, but your last sentence would be perfect for a tombstone!

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