No more. There is a rising sense within me that church light is more dangerous than church might. Those crushed by the abuse of church leaders who see themselves as God's vicars on earth are in need of our mercy and support, but those who are enmeshed in church light are also in need of an awakening. The former abuse is overt and painful; the latter abuse is subtle and sweet. In the end, the effects on church members are the same.
God's people ought to be able to articulate the reasons for the hope within them. The ability of church members to articulate the essential differences between egalitarianism and complementarianism, the different world views of dispensational premillennialists over and against partial preterists, the reasons why some believe the Old Covenant laws of Israel are abolished versus some who believe all laws in the covenants--both Old and New--remain in effect forever, as well as members being able to articulate for themselves other theological differences, should be not just the dream of pastors, it should be our goal.
For example, there's no way for Christians to explain the basis for believing the dietary laws of Israel are abolished unless those same Christians read and learn the books of Leviticus and Hebrews and then see how Scripture specifically teaches the person and work of Jesus Christ is foreshadowed in the dietary laws--every jot and tittle of them--and that Christ through His life, death and resurrection for sinners has made these Old Covenant law "obsolete" and causes them to "disappear" (Hebrews 8:13). In addition, until Christians know the book of Daniel, they will never be able to explain how the prophet Daniel was given a vision foretelling the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom, which would crush every earthly kingdom (Daniel 2:44) including Israel's, but that he was to seal up the "scroll of his book" because the time was 'far away' (Daniel 12:4). Unless people read Revelation for themselves and see that John's scroll was "not to be sealed because the time is near" (Revelation 22:10), they might never realize that Daniel's prophecy was fulfilled when Christ rose from the dead to inaugurate His eternal kingdom and then He waited forty years to utterly destroy Jerusalem and the Old Covenant kingdom of His people (the Jews) in righteous judgment. Of course, the dispensational premillenialist would say that the kingdom of God has not YET been inaugurated, and unless Christians learn to understand the differences in eschatology, they will never be able to articulate why they believe what they believe about the future. Christians enmeshed in church light will never know the differences, much less what they believe, and struggle with understanding why they should care.
The goal of every pastor is not that every Christian in the church believe the same thing on tertiary issues of Scripture, but that every Christian in the church knows the arguments of both sides of an issue and is able to articulate why he or she believes what is believed! Peter writes,
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15).It seems Peter is saying one's confidence in the Lord is strengthened when one is able to articulate the reason for the hope that is within. To be able to articulate your beliefs as a Christian in areas of marriage, eschatology, church governance, New Covenant and Old Covenant theology, the person and work of Christ, and hundreds of other important issues from Scripture is the sign that you are maturing and growing in your faith relationship with God.
I would rather have a church member who is a complementarian, dispensational, Old Covenant Presbyterian, believer in male authority and is able to articulate what he believes from his interpretation of the Scripture (though I strongly disagree with him), than I would a member who cares nothing for the truth of Scripture and revels in church light and vapid preachers who "coach" instead of biblically literate preachers who teach the Bible.
There is an official organization called Church Lite. It is composed of atheists, agnostics, and all those who deny the existence of God. Their statement of faith:
Sadly, evangelical church lights share similarities with atheistic church lites. Both have lost sight of the person and work of Jesus Christ in removing guilt by Himself."We remove all of the guilt over offending imaginary beings and of enjoying life ( "bad guilt" ) while retaining most of the guilt over harming others ( "good guilt" ) and some guilt over privilege (in the form of concern over the plight of the less fortunate) (not present in all competing churches)."