with eyes open wide
(This is the second post in a series called “Christianity”. See the first post here.)
The title of this blog post might come across as harsh or confusing to some. The Church IS Jesus, right?
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19 – 21
If the church was built on the foundation of the apostles, prophets and Jesus Christ, why don’t our churches today reflect this? Why are there so many different denominations? Why are there different Bible translations? Why is the Bible interpreted in so many different ways?
The easy answers are: religious war, history, culture. But what it comes down to is the human “condition” – we are imperfect. We argue. Shit happens.
Does this mean the Church should be perfect? Of course not. Paul himself writes to many churches about things that the church leaders are doing wrong. Those blokes were lucky to have the apostle alive and able to guide them! What does that mean for us, in 2013?
This is where I get stuck. Sure, we have the holy spirit to guide us now. But look how far that has taken us! Christianity in this day and age is unfortunately seen as a joke, and honestly I have to say for good reason.
Maybe it’s better that we don’t have an apostle still alive to tell the bad churches to shape up or ship out. That would be kinda like a cult right, everyone hanging on one guy’s word. Oh wait, that’s the Catholic Church.
Or maybe we DO have apostles living in our time, but their voice is being drowned out by all the pagans and fake Christians. I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’m not a religious scholar by ANY means, these are just my views and opinions. We still have a right to those, correct? I find there is something seriously wrong with the Christian Church today, and the number one reason is that they have left Jesus behind.
And I also am finding out that I’m not the only one concerned about this.
Let me be clear: I have not read any of these books. This is what a quick Google search returned me… I’ve also found countless blogs whose authors feel the same way (The American Jesus, Rachel Held Evans, R.C Sproul, Glenn Hager, Evidence2Hope, Steve Edwards, National Catholic Reporter).
The one book that I read that TOTALLY shook me up was The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and not being moved by his words. It turned my whole comfortable Christianity upside down and I couldn’t be more thankful. This is not the time to do a book review, but he talks a lot about what it means to be a true Christian: putting your life on the line for Jesus, living as Jesus’ disciple and doing what is hard but RIGHT in this secular world.
Another person who I came across a few years ago completely changed my perspective too. It was Paul Washer, one of the most extreme preachers I have ever listened to. He calls us to leave fake Christianity and REALLY do what Jesus would do. He was probably one of the first people to challenge my faith and open my eyes a bit wider.
I’m young and pretty out-of-touch with all of these famous preachers and denominational differences and doctrinal differences. As I’ve said, I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in these areas. However, since it affects me and is something that I grapple with, I figure there must be others who can relate. I welcome your feedback in the comments section (but please remember what I said in the first post in this series about not acting like monkeys…).
Many people note that people are broken and churches are made of people, so therefore the church will be broken too. I would partially agree, though it still stands that doctrines should not be broken. Leaders in the church should be anointed by the holy spirit for their position and role.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28
So then why are these supposedly spirit-filled leaders making and promoting bad church doctrine? I don’t think you can use “we’re all imperfect sinners” as an excuse here. Church doctrine are your values and deeply held beliefs.
But on the flip side, think about what John wrote in Revelation 2 – 3 about the letters to the 7 churches. There were 2 churches out of the 7 that did not displease Jesus in this vision (Smyrna and Philadelphia). These two chapters have always fascinated me. Of course, there are many different interpretations of this information, but I always think to myself, “Which group will I be in?” Do you wonder the same?
Maybe it IS God’s will for our churches to be broken. Let’s just make sure that we are wise enough to realize the truth and to seek the correct “church” for the day of the Lord’s coming.