Tag Archives: Collin Hanseen

Can the Churches Survive the Pandemic

The pandemic known as COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to the institutional churches.  Pastors have resorted to streaming their services on Facebook, YouTube, and other means made available by modern technology.  Such substitutes are a poor substitute for meeting together.  Some churches may not reopen once the pandemic ends.  There is a fear that many who missed meeting together with fellow believers may decide that attending church at least once a week, or even less often, was not necessary or rewarding.

Some denominations were already experiencing a flight from the pews well before the pandemic struck.  The Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, has noted a drop in baptisms and membership for several years in a row.  Some of the losses are accounted for by the rise of non-denominational church fellowships and the fact that the youth are abandoning the faith of their parents as soon as they are free to do so.  

Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman’s book, Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential (Crossway 2021), is timely.  The authors provide an argument for the role of the institutional church in the believer’s life.   Their argument is persuasive.  However, it is important to note that they are referring to the institutional church, that is, the brick-and-mortar building that is likely a part of an organized denomination.  Before becoming too depressed about the state of affairs, one must keep in mind that the institutional church and the Church as the Body of Christ consisting of all those—past, present, and future—who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not the samething.  The former is finite and will vanish; the latter is eternal.

There are numerous verses in the New Testament that call upon believers to gather together for fellowship, exhortation and teaching, worship and celebration of the Lord’s Supper, etc.  Hanseen and Leeman provide a good both a reminder of the importance of meeting together and an encouragement to do so.

As I read and thought about the content of Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ is Essential my mind was drawn to the words of an old Negro spiritual:

Let Us Break Bread Together Lyrics

1. Let us break bread together on our knees, (on our knees) 

let us break bread together on our knees. (on our knees) 

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 

O Lord, have mercy on me. (on me) 

2. Let us drink wine together on our knees, (on our knees) 

let us drink wine together on our knees. (on our knees) 

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 

O Lord, have mercy on me. (on me) 

[3]. Let us praise God together on our knees, (on our knees) 

let us praise God together on our knees. (on our knees) 

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 

O Lord, have mercy on me. (on me) 

4. Let us praise God together on our knees, (on our knees) 

let us praise God together on our knees. (on our knees) 

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 

O Lord, have mercy if you please. (if you please) 

Until next time, be good to all God’s creatures and always live under the mercy.