Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Love / Hate relationship with the church

David Hayward’s blog is on my bloglist as I enjoy his humour and cartoons. From time to time he also writes something. On Friday he posted something with the title: Church-Hate? Using the analogy of a photographer trying to publish his photos, he speaks about the restrictive nature of the church. Quite a number of people commented on this post. I myself asked him only one question: “Do you hate the church or do you hate what people made of it?”
There’s a lot being written about the church and about reasons why people do not like the church. I think this is a necessary discussion. But each time I read books, blogs or articles about the topic (granted that I am more inclined to read stuff written by people who are really serious about their relationship with God rather than people complaining merely because they can – and there’s plenty of them), I come to one conclusion: The complaints are mostly about what the church has become (or how people perceive the church to be) than against the church itself. I’ve read many excellent books about the church. Examples abound. Some of these that I’ve blogged about, include Bob Roberts’ books, Transformation and Glocalisation. All of these books have great ideas on how the church should be in today’s society, but eventually it all boils down to becoming the church as God revealed it to us in the New Testament.
And this is the reason why I feel uncomfortable about Christians saying that they hate the church. I’ve been hurt by the church in my own life. Immensely! I’ve personally seen and experienced how loveless the church can be at times. But is it the church or is it the people in the church who are at fault?
The fact is that, in spite of all the criticism against the church as institution, I have never seen a better alternative to a church that really works and does things in a Godly way.
I love the church. What we need to do is to return to the Biblical principles on how the church should be (such as being a community of love, being a light and salt for the world, being united in Christ, etc, etc.) We don’t need new principles. On the contrary. What we do need is the wisdom to apply the old principles within a new and changed society.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008 - Posted by | Bob Roberts, Church, Humour, Theology

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