Monday, April 21, 2008

Loving Jesus But Not The Church?

One of the common refrains of the emerging church types today is that people love Jesus, but they just do not like his church.

Is that possible? I would suggest it isn't.

Now, I understand what they are saying: The church is full of hypocrites who are judgmental and hateful towards anyone who is not like them. The church has become too much like the world--to marketed, too segmented, too consumeristic, too much of many things. And they are too often right. And they don't like that. Quite frankly, no true believer would.

But they miss a major point: The church, with all its faults, is the body of Christ. And you cannot love Christ without loving his body. It would be like saying, "I love my family, I just don't like my spouse and children." Well, quite frankly, that makes no sense.

Warren Wiersbe cites one of the church fathers who supposedly compared the church to Noah's Ark and said, "If it weren't for the judgment on the outside, nobody could ever stand the smell on the inside." He doesn't document it, so it may just be a legendary statement, but it is certainly picturesque, if such a thing can be said of olfactory-related analogies.

The answer to the problems of the church is not withdrawal, usually not even to another church. The answer is further involvement, the commitment to make disciples in and through the local church. That doesn't mean you have to like everything, or smile on the sins of the church such as hypocrisy, marketing, consumerism, segmentalism, etc. But people who love Jesus work to change it.

So I would say, If you don't love the church, then you don't love Jesus.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I agree with you, and am reminded of a quote I have heard from a number of sources: "if a hypocrite is between you and God, who's closer to God?" The "I love Jesus but not the church" argument is a pathetic one. It's similar to the "I stopped going to church because someone offended me" argument. About which I always ask "has your wife ever offended you?", and "has your boss ever offended you?" The answers is yes, but the results are different. Thanks for the post.