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Anti-Authoritarian Age, Part 2

There is little in this world that does not affect us all in some way. As believers, we are commanded to be in the world but not of the world (1 John 2:15). This is especially true concerning this topic of anti-authority.
The danger of this anti-authoritarian age has found its way into the local church. The side effects of this spirit of the age are reflected in a few ways. I'll tackle one of these side effects in this week's Pastor's Pen.

Effects of the Anti-Authoritarian Age: Autonomy

Many believers are becoming increasingly independent and autonomous in their spiritual lives, which can be attributed to the prevailing anti-authority culture.
While painting with a broad brush is not always the best approach, the concern over this sub-culture of evangelical believers is legitimate. This attitude stems from a growing suspicion that many believers have towards the universal church.
This suspicion results from the natural imperfections of the body of Christ, but the various controversies within the broader evangelical world also fuel it. As a result, some have developed resistance to the church, its leaders, and its message. More could be said, but I trust you get this point.
This independent spirit within many believers results from poor theology or a lack of theology (Eph 4:14).
When we are not given biblical truth, as it pertains to the church, her role in our lives, and how God has ordained the local church's ministry to be those that watch over our souls, we tend to fly solo outside of God’s blessing.

So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. - Ephesians 2:19-22, NASB

However, when we are taught to love the church and to see the church as God’s program in this world (Eph. 2:11-22), it reshapes our hearts to see the local church as an essential part of our lives. I did a series of messages on this subject, which you can listen to here:
Over the last twenty years, with the rise of the internet, we’ve seen the church expand its ministry within the world for the glory of God. There are numerous positives and negatives to the internet and the church.
One serious negative of the internet that feeds this autonomous spirit are the endless sermons, livestreams, and podcasts that give the believer a false notion they do not need the church. Digital ministry cannot replace the real face-to-face accountability of the local church.
I believe digital ministry has its place, but a podcast or a sermon on YouTube is not God’s ordained means of grace. I enjoy listening to sermons while running or working in my yard, but I don't believe it can replace the experience of church.
A great way to explain this is through sports. Nobody wants to play on the junior varsity team. We all aspire to play on the varsity team. This is how I would compare digital ministry (junior varsity) to the life-changing ministry of the local church (varsity).
Next week, we're going to dive into another side effect of this anti-authority age on the church.