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Church

My church blueprint continues to be a source of incredible life and encouragement to me... which is still a bit surprising - im used to church being something that I tolerate, certainly not a place of joy, life and hope. This paragraph from Dan Kimbals book "they like Jesus but not the church" is one that really encourages me. I read something by NT Wright last night that I might post last week that is in a similar vein, but for now, have a read over this;

The church is a beautiful, wonderful living thing. We are the body of Christ. Yet we all are sinners and make mistakes. I hope we will recognize the mistakes we make, repent and apologise. I hope we will do whatever it takes to remain pure but move ahead on our mission into culture. I also pray and hope that those who have misperceptions of the church or have being hurt by the church give us a chance. Because the reality is that the church isn’t just an organisation, or a social club but a supernatural community. We are the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25-27). So when people say they don’t like the church, they are saying they don’t like the bride of Jesus, which is like going to a wedding and telling the groom that we like him but not the bride. It’s insulting to the groom when we don’t like the bride. And the church isn’t just a human couple; it’s a supernatural part of Jesus. Jesus said he would build it (Matt 16:18). He wants to keep it pure (Matt 18:15-17). The church is his holy people (1 Cor 1:2). The church is his body (Eph 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12). He is the head of the church (Eph 1:22). Jesus loves the church and gave himself up for her (Eph5:25). So when we say we like Jesus but not the church, we have to understand what we are saying.
What I think most people mean is that they like Jesus, but they don’t like what people have turned the church into. We need to explain to those who like Jesus but not the church that Jesus loves the church, and that if they truly like Jesus, they cannot help but like the church, because its his church and his bride. They need the church because it’s the expression of Jesus as his body. If they put their faith in Jesus, whether they realize it or not, they are supernaturally part of the church. But we need to help them understand the difference between the church and what we sometimes turn it into.
We have a lot to overcome. This should drive us to our knees in prayer and motivate us to avoid ever shaming the church. It should motivate us to be humble and intelligent students of the Scriptures and to strive with all of our being to make the church known as Jesus bride, whom he loves. We need to be creating new understandings of the church so that we will no longer be seen as negative judgemental, homophobic organized religion that oppresses women, arrogantly thinks all other religions are wrong, and takes the whole bible literally, but instead will be seen as a loving and welcoming family that is a positive agent of change, holds women in the highest regard, is respectful of other beliefs, and humbly strives to be thoughtful theologians.

“Church”

  1. Blogger Rob Says:

    woah, look how green the yuccas are in that photo... they once lived a good life

  2. Blogger Debs Says:

    Oh no. I have become one of those people that I used to secretly get fed up with. I have become someone who has been 'hurt' by the church. Even saying that makes me cringe. So now that i've been 'hurt', what am i to do about it? What is right and what is wrong? How much of it is the fault of me or 'other'? How do I restore relationships with those I love from within my church family who I feel have turned their back on me in my time of need. Out of sight and out of mind. I feel I have been ostracized from the 'in crowd'. How embarrassing that I even thought the church had an in crowd! How has it got to the point where I feel too nervous to walk back into my own church?

    Who has turned their back on who? Have I, by becoming too afraid to go to church, turned my back on Jesus, the church, the bride? Were those friendships I made just brief connections that were designed to ebb and flow? Or are they part of the bigger picture, a fellowship of believers that stay together through thick and thin. Is that my misguided dream of how I expected a church family to be? Have I become hard and cynical through my hurt and I just need to snap out of it and come back?

    Who knows? I certainly don't. Cup of tea at my house, anyone?

  3. Anonymous Ben Kendrew Says:

    great post bro.
    challenging & encouraging.

    something to add to your list of things we should strive for: breaking down the destructive habit of comparison & competition between churches. Sharing in the praise reports of others & mourning & lifting up in prayer the hard times of others...

    a 'win' for the church down the road is a win for the Church - capital C.

    bless ya bro