Are we all done bad-mouthing the church yet?
I know she isn’t perfect, but that’s the sort of pressure we put on her. If the church was a Christian’s spouse, she would’ve entered therapy and an abuse shelter a long time ago. There would be criminal charges and a talk show interview.
God still loves the church. She is God’s idea.
God still manifests His own perfection through imperfect people — and occasionally, we get it right.
It’s much more glorious when God is seen through such a mess. His strength is really made perfect in weakness. We hardly hear about this though because both Christians and the media circus won’t stop beating her up.
It’s easy to hide behind the wall of a blog and toss critic-grenades at the state of ministry. Everyone has their opinion for “What is wrong with church today.” Yes, doctrine is in trouble. Yes, baptisms are down. Yes, the culture shuns us. Yes, we have become an entertainment center. We could write things like this in our sleep.
I think if we spent even half that energy on our knees in prayer, door to door with our neighbors, down the street at the homeless shelter, in our privacy with Scripture, and knee-deep with broken people — we would probably look like the church in Acts 2:42-47, where people laughed and ate and listened and read God’s Word with great joy. No one was working an angle to build a platform for their voice.
Now if you read that previous paragraph and nodded, the truth is: Many local churches are doing exactly this. There are still many good churches surviving as the remnant people of Christ, not perfectly, but passionately, with all sincerity — and we hate on them too.
We don’t recognize them enough. It’s not vanity to celebrate those moments of God-infused greatness. We can’t presume the church stinks simply because of a few (very) bad apples. There are certainly impostors, but the church is still a powerful force for good in the universe. She deserves at least this much credit. Our eyes just refuse to open.
I’m probably undermining the point by criticizing the criticism. Really though, I just grieve for our treatment of the bride. She can be a beautiful, wonderful, exuberant beacon of healing and laughter, and I still have hope for her, because God does.
Jesus commissioned the church upon the foundation of himself, and anything empowered by no less than the resurrection of the Son of God is a supernatural power capable of breaking our everyday fallen reality. She is the portal to Heaven, opening up the sky with instruments of grace and transformation — and she is you and me, the body of Christ, bound by a Spirit that does the impossible.
I pray we still believe that.
I will love the church, just as Christ loved her and gave his life for her.