Thursday, September 15, 2011

I sure hope not

About two weeks ago, a friend on Facebook posted a status about the Christian faith. Out of respect I did not respond there, and will leave this person anonymous here--but I cannot get it off of my mind, so I feel the need to comment. (Caveat - I still love and admire the person who said it; this is a disagreement with the statement, not the person.)

The quote:
If we are who God wants us to be individually, the church will naturally be what she ought to be collectively . . .

To which I respond...I sure hope not.

I hope that the state of God's church is not dependent upon each of us, individually, being who we are supposed to be. Because as sinners--both before and after salvation--we will never get to the point that we are where we are supposed to be.

I think more than anything, this statement clearly and perfectly illustrates where we evangelical Christians have often and frequently gone off base. What the quote above should say is this: "God makes the church what she should be collectively, so that we may become who we are supposed to be individually."

Evangelicals too frequently see the church as existing to provide an outlet for a holy people to serve their God. This is not a Biblically-sound view of things. The church exists to provide community for a group of imperfect believers to worship together in honesty and openness before a holy God. The Church, as an institution of God, is at all times holier than those of us who make it up; when we approach it with honesty and meekness, and fellowship with those around us, we grow in holiness for our exposure to it.

That is why the focus of church, as outlined in Acts 2, is to study the teaching of the disciples and to be in fellowship together: our primary purpose in attending church is to be fed by the Word of God and to be in communion with fellow sinners saved by grace. Through this interaction do we grow.

What church is not is a collective of people who God has made holy, coming together so that they can prove through their service or their worship how much they love Him.

You see, that is the backward part of the modern evangelical view of church: we try to live holy (but Jesus-less) lives throughout the week, and gather together to "experience His Spirit" as a collective on Sunday. Instead, we are supposed to be walking with Him in the Spirit all week, then gather together on Sunday to fellowship with others doing the same, and learn more about Him.

Thanks be to God that the value of the church is not dependent upon the holiness of its individual members. Thanks be to God that it actually works the other way around, and church is a place that we downtrodden sinners can go to be encouraged and renewed by our fellow Christians.


  1. Hello, My name is Mark. I recently came across your blog and read a few of the most recent posts. You have so many good points that I'd like to discuss. Or maybe even counterpoint. Will you be responding to comments Michael? If not, then I will not be commenting. Not that you'd have to respond to everything, but what's a discussion without the topic starter.

  2. Mark:

    I do try to respond periodically in the comments, but make no promises. :) When I respond it will be under this name (RebootChristianity).

    Glad to have you reading, hope the blog is a blessing.