The Church Universal


Lately my thoughts have been going in a thousand directions. One line is following an idea that seems to be cropping up more and more. I’ve seen this premise in bookstore catalogues, specifically in the advertisements for certain non-fiction titles. And now it’s raised its head in several novels as well.

The way things tend to go these days, people read about an idea a couple times and without ever challenging the concept, accept it as part of their body of “fact” which they then repeat as if it is gospel. That process in itself deserves a blog post, but not this one.

Instead, I want to take an introductory look at what’s being said recently about the Church. These books I mentioned seem to be saying, God is good, it’s the Church I can’t stand. Or to put it another way, Christianity would be fine except for Christians.

Before I get started on my reaction to this line of thinking, let me first be clear on what I am not saying. I am not saying the Church is perfect and should never change. The truth is, the Church is made up of people. Redeemed people, but all of us, to one degree or another, are struggling in the same way Paul described his own struggle(Romans 7)—doing that which he wished he wouldn’t do. Consequently, whenever Christians gather together, imperfection will raise its ugly head.

Since we Christians serve a perfect God, since we have been clothed with the robe of righteousness, since we are being shaped into the image of Jesus Himself, this imperfection is shocking and disappointing (see yesterday’s post on expectations, which applies to real life as much as it does fiction).

But does that mean we should bail on the Church as some seem to be suggesting?

Consider that the Bible says Christ is the head of the Church, then ask that question again. Consider that God uses the analogy of a bride—His bride—to describe the Church.

Consider that many of the people writing are looking at the Church as it is currently operating in North America, specifically in the US, without much knowledge or concern for what believers in Nigeria, Taiwan, Bolivia, or Ukraine are doing.

In short, I find this dismissive attitude (one person commented at Spec Faith: “I am so over church. Up to ‘here’ with christians.”) to be un-biblical and narrow. Oddly, “narrow” seems to be one of the accusations against the church in the US.

Could it be that those who are accusing the Church are really only looking at a church or several churches or even those who claim to be part of the Church but in truth are not? What do you think?

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 10:39 am  Comments (13)  
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