For me, answering this question doesn’t require that I put myself in a non-believers’ shoes to honestly critique the church. I have no reservation saying yes; in most cases the church is outdated. With sadness I share my response as to how some churches in recent generations have been stewards of their priceless gift, stewards of their little corner of overseeing the Kingdom. From the outdated buildings, to the half empty pews, this is not a reflection of the powerful and living Word of God, but a contradiction.
God, being the Alpha and Omega, cannot become old or outdated in any respect as He created everything that can be, whether in the year 1800 or 2050. (New Testament, John 1:3) All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In addition, (NT, Hebrews 4:12a) For the word of God is living and active. So, if the church has become stale or the pews (or rather the folding chairs) empty, it is not that God is irrelevant or out of date. According to His Word, this simply cannot be true. Therefore it can only be the keepers of His Kingdom on earth to which the burden falls.
So, let’s look at the church. Scripture tells us that just because there is a church building with people gathered, or for that matter a group of people who hold a church service in any particular place, it does not guarantee that God is present with them. Although when a person has the Holy Spirit – a new life inside of them – then God resides with that person, in that place (NT, Acts 7:48, 51). So I ask, what does a person look like with whom God dwells, and therefore what does a group of people with whom God dwells look like?
Jesus said in (NT) John 14: 23, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him and we will come to him, and make Our abode with him. What do those who are obedient to Him, the people in whom God is abiding, what do they look like? Jesus said He came that people might have life, and have it abundantly (NT, John 10:10b). Paul said he wanted believers to be filled up to all the fullness of God (NT, Ephesians 3:19b). Christ redeemed people (NT, Ephesians 1:7) back from what was lost in the Garden of Eden, as He intended for people to have eternal life (NT, John 3:16), fullness of joy and pleasures forever (Old Testament, Psalm16:11b).
If people of the church are obedient to Him, then the people will be living an abundant life, filled with the fullness of God, full of joy and experiencing pleasures. That sounds a lot like the people who were a part of the thriving church in Acts.
I suggest that the church today has become outdated because slowly, throughout recent generations, people have become less obedient to God’s Word; this disobedience manifesting in various ways. Due to the lack of obedience, we observe less of God’s vibrant life among professing believers and among the professing church. Sadly, due to believers not loving God, nor obeying God, the professing church has largely become outdated, because the God who gives eternal life, abundant life, fullness, joy and pleasures can never go out of style.