Fixing the Church Universal?

I took a quick glance at what other bloggers are saying about church. What a mixed bag. There were numerous articles about the shooting last week at the Unitarian Universalist church in Tennessee, in which two people were killed. One publication reported that, according to police, the man held for the crime “attacked the congregation because of its outspoken socially liberal and gay-friendly beliefs.”

Another dealt with the suit a woman brought against a church in Texas because she claimed she was injured in an exorcism. (That one is reportedly headed for the Supreme Court).

One interesting post answered the question, why do people go to church.

A couple others discuss whether or not the flag belongs in the church. One announced a church that was closing, another that their church would be giving away 1000 backpacks filled with school supplies.

And so it goes.

In some ways, I was relieved that there doesn’t appear to be an abundance of anti-church blog posts, but then I only looked at the first hundred out of the nearly 200,000 posts written about church in just this past week. Yet on the other hand, what these people were talking about bore little resemblance to what I know as the Church.

The closest was a post by Brian McLaughlin. However, he teeters on the edge of a precarious cliff. At one point he asks

Why is it that so many churches are faithfully teaching the Bible as the Word of God but are having absolutely no impact on the Christians or non-Christians in their community?

My first thought was, Where are these churches? I’ve not seen them, that’s for sure. But I do know of missionaries who labor for years and never see much change in the people and community they serve. So it seems possible there are some churches faithfully preaching the Word of God with no apparent impact.

But he said “so many.”

My response is, I don’t think that’s possible.

First, if those churches are faithfully preaching the Word of God, they won’t be missing the work of the Holy Spirit, as Mr. McLaughlin says.

Second, Scripture is clear that fruit is the way we can identify those in the vine. So no fruit seems to me to be an indication that these many churches are pretending. Sort of like the sorcerer who followed Peter around for a time, wanting above all the power he saw when the apostles lay hands on the new believers.

Scripture also makes it clear that false teachers will arise from within the ranks of the believers, and that we who hold to the Truth of Scripture are to examine what we hear.

So my thinking is, we have lowered the bar to the point that we want to “fix” churches that are in fact not part of the Church. Perhaps, instead, we who are part of the Church universal should loudly proclaim what we know to be true about Jesus mediating for us with the Father, then go out in the power of the Holy Spirit and let our fruit show. Seems to me the distinctions should then be clear.

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 11:01 am  Comments (3)  
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