Not long ago, I left a comment on a blog, stating how I felt that the Church is a mess. I do not apologize for saying such a thing. This is not to diminish the perfect creation of the ekklesia by Jesus, Who is always at work in us. We, however, still go our own way, as if nothing were written in Scripture that mattered more than what we think, feel or desire. As a Church…as the Greater Family of Christian people…we have become greedy, selfish and self-serving. We are more concerned with what our own little cliques are about, rather than seeing our small parts in God’s Kingdom. Many of us have forgotten what it is to love one another and love our neighbor. We speak about what we are against so much, no one knows what we are for. We spend more time criticizing (other) denominations more than we do encouraging them, exalting our own denominations as if they had a special place in Heaven.
Below is a list which puts the picture together better than I ever could. Actually, I have never seen anyone who put together such a list, so well thought out.
From a WordPress blog, The Unapologetic Prophet wrote:
1. We have taken that which is meant to be Unified, and sliced it apart for the sake of personal comfort though denominational labels. We have divided Her.
2. We have taken that which is meant to be lovely and virtuous, and scarred Her face and body with our failed theologies, our forced mandates, our religious expectations that serve to only damage Her and defy Unity.
3. We have allowed The World, through the futile machinations and manipulations of human politics, both Conservative and liberal, to invade The Church like a foreign army, shooting the wounded and taking prisoners as slaves.
4. We have stood idle while The World forces itself onto The Bride, like spiritual rape, in the name of diversity, tolerance, political-correctness, and seeker-sensitive Christianity, which is no Christianity at all.
5. We have lied about fellowship, and have decided that “knowing others online” is a readily available and acceptable substitute for human interactions in ekklesia where The Spirit truly binds under the Headship of Christ.
6. We falsely claim total obedience to The Scriptures, but might just as well rip pages out of our Bibles due to our disbelief in what they truly teach, thanks to erroneous theologies, zeal without knowledge, and the curse of spiritual retardation.
7. We have willingly allowed the “New Jesus” and “New Christianity” of progressive false spirits to raise a banner, and rudely demand a seat at our Father’s Table, as though they have the right due to a passing familiarity.
8. We allow the modern-day Pharisaical Movement ala Westboro Baptist Church, to speak for God our Father using their own words of unrestrained and reckless hatred. They scream for the blood of sinners, and hellfire for the wicked, without realizing that they cannot demand such things, and are playing a very dangerous game.
9. We deny and unwittingly vilify The Holy Spirit through incorrect teaching and the fear of realizing the supernatural character of our God. The Fundamentalists are famous for this, and the progressives make a mockery of this.
I will add something I call the “male-centric” leadership of the Church. For centuries, men have dominated leadership, misinterpreting scriptures to justify gender role assignment and “keeping women in their place”. Many of these same men keep other men in their alleged places, by claiming their own anointing and education as criteria and qualification for the leadership they feel they are called to. This will be covered in another blog at another time.
The above list may seem strong, maybe even a little over the top for some. But, we need to realize that so many of us have strayed so far from scriptural principles, especially those concerning love and compassion. We have forgotten to follow the example of Jesus. We ignore what we read in 1st Corinthians 13, about what love is, isn’t, what it does and doesn’t do. We exercise forgiveness in word only. We have become so hyped up on singing our songs and shouting our praises that we forgot that there are people out there – or even right next to us – who need to know they are loved. We so love our big, beautiful buildings that we are fine to stay in them and invite all to come in, forgetting that we are all called to go out there and be Jesus to a lost and dying world.
Our image is tainted by our loud and vociferous protests against everything we disagree with. People know what we are against, that is for sure. We are supposed to be for something, though. For what? People. The very people we tell to stop sinning are the very ones who need to hear more about how they are loved – no matter what they do, have done or plan to do.
Our image is further tainted by the lavish lifestyles of “ministers”, who are allegedly preaching a free Gospel. We attend gatherings in state-of-the-art, overly expensive buildings, with the excuse that it may attract more to attend. Is this what Jesus said…”Go, therefore, and build attractive and comfortable buildings, that those outside may come in.”?
We have placed a higher emphasis on programs than we have on people. We are so concerned with “nickels and noses” that we forget about hearts and individuals. We have become consumed by our culture and the American dream to the point that we have either forgotten, neglected or even look down upon those in need, right outside our front doors.
I am glad that in spite of this, God’s message still gets out there. His grace and His Spirit will transcend our efforts, or lack of effort. But, I am convinced we can up our game and be the Church we were meant to be.