Posts Tagged ‘Church’

We have known churches where the members can scarcely sit down at the Lord’s Table without some disagreement. There are always people who are finding fault with the minister, and there are ministers finding fault with the people; there is among them “a spirit that lusteth to envy,” and “where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”… Alas! How continually do we hear accounts of disputings and variance in churches!” C.H. Spurgeon

problem goat

“A want of love to one another,” is Spurgeon’s descriptor. Hundreds of years ago the want of love was present, even in the early church the want of love was present, thus the plentiful Scripture passages regarding the need of love to one another.

Please don’t misunderstand, my intent isn’t to slander of the Bride of Christ. All too common is a slanderous spirit toward the church, where people are all too willing to join in and say the church is loveless. Spurgeon’s point isn’t that of a disgruntled church goer who is disenfranchised.  Those deprived and marginalized souls who accuse blame, and condemn the church for almost every slight, injustice, or social problem are those who view the church as a service provider and who are part of the problem.

Somehow the cutting edge of some modern religious movements has become the rejection of systematized and organized church. You aren’t cool and Jesusy if you don’t bemoan the errors of the church and meet in someone’s house. It is as if spirituality is measured by how much one can reject anything that is a tradition handed down.

What is replacing the old models? It has been replaced with either chaos, or modern consumer driven paradigms that provide the product of choice, at the moment, according to fickle consumptive desire. With this attitude the Bride of Christ is despised and not loved. This rejection is a multifaceted cacophony of opinion, where authenticity, genuineness, and spontaneity presume to fix all that ales the church.

The church always can mature, we always need to be reforming and cutting away the cultural blinders. Loving the church and love for our brothers is part and parcel of this demeanor. Jesus loved the church, he commanded that we love the church, and the manner of love for the church we possess is a marker of our faith in Christ. John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is not as though Christians need to love ecclesiastical structures, heritage, or traditions. What is being stated, is that the manner of love for one another determines the manner in which those items are handled.

The church is the vehicle of God’s own choosing for spreading the fame of His name among the nations. We gather to love one another, worship, and be sent out into the world as missionaries; to be salt and light to the world. Let us not give way to the cultural religious trend of rejecting the church. Let us not fall victims to the classic blunder of getting so deeply involved in church structure that we fail to actually love the church.  A want of love for one another undercuts God honoring actions of the church, but love for one another demonstrates the glory of the One we worship.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24–25

Church Problems

Posted: December 6, 2017 in Blog
Tags: , , , , ,

In the last post I considered the Westminster Confession of Faith, and C.H. Spurgeon’s threefold critique of the church. The WCF presented the church as always on the earth to worship God, and the church will be imperfect until glorification at Christ’s return. Spurgeon posited that the three major problems he dealt with in the church were lovelessness toward God, each other, and the lost.

The problem of the church being arranged into these groupings is that in some way there is a failure to recognize that her problems are as myriad and pronounced as there are members of the body. Meaning that the problem of the church is the people. The ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people! Don’t get distracted by a stupid pastoral pun. It’s equally true that pastors are the problem, because they are part of the church, and are themselves people.

The church is the bride of Christ who is flawed, but who gathers for the sake of worshiping in Spirit and in Truth. This corporate worship exists for many important purposes, one of which is consecration, meaning that gathered followers of Christ are being transformed from one degree of glory to another, in turn bringing glory to Christ. We gather to grow as a corporate whole, and individually; we gather for the glory of Christ; we gather as the redeemed who are not yet glorified; we gather as the imperfect & flawed bride, whom Christ accepted and loved.

This imperfect gathering of Christ followers looks to the hope of future perfection reveling in the promise of heavenly glory. We seek to mature in Christ, build one another up in love, for the glory of Christ.

It is much easier to point out the problems of the church rather than deal with your own issues. Really, who wants to gather with the church to hear about their faults? Gatherings in Christ are  not for the sake of paying penance or expiation for weekly misdeeds. Nor is it for the sake of merely gaining information. An important purpose in gathering is for hearing the Word of God preached, by which the aroma of life creeps into the dark caverns of life exposing darkness to the light. If in Christ wereceive the Word of God meekly implanted it will save our souls, (James 1:21) purifying the spotless bride of Christ, (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Over the next few weeks we will examine our imperfections, taking time to think biblically about the flaws of the church: a want of love to one another; a want of love to souls; and a want of love to Jesus Christ.

The Church and Her Problems

Posted: November 30, 2017 in Blog
Tags: , ,

I think there are three great faults in the Church of God at large, as a body, from which those who are in Heaven are entirely free. Those three are,—a want of love to one another; a want of love to souls; and a want of love to Jesus Christ.” These are the words of C.H. Spurgeon, in a message he delivered, The Faultless Assembly on the evening of December 18th, 1853.

Quotefancy-2185556-3840x2160Eighteen hundred years after the church began these faults existed, as they did when the church was first formed, and they still exist to this day. The faultless church will only exist in glory. Ironically, in light of modern insistence to the contrary, the problems inherent within the church have remained the same through every generation of the church, as has the condition of mankind; there is nothing new under the sun. Even a cursory view of the New Testament will reveal all manner of conflict, correction of error, and great imperfection that arose in the early church. The obvious problems of today are no different from then, and the Word of God is timeless and applicable across every generation. It is a shortsighted-romantic-ideal to think that the early church was nothing but tongues of fire, all night prayer meetings, and massive crowds converted to Christ.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “The… Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.” (25.4) “The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.” (25.5)

Gathering with the church should not serve the purpose of blown smoke up our backside, so that we might feel better about ourselves. The church gathers around God’s Word and when that happened the Word pierces, divides, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Effectively the gospel being preached steps on toes and ruffles feathers. The church needs that, and the true church longs for that.

Of course gathering with the church to hear about your faults is not listed on anyone’s bucket list. Guaranteed no one writes, “go to church to expose my faults” on their to do list. Yet there is something satisfying in hearing the Word of God preached, as a follower of Christ, where the aroma of life creeps into the dark caverns of our lives and exposes the darkness to the light. If we are but willing in Christ to receive the Word of God meekly implanted it will save our very souls, (James 1:21) forming us into the spotless bride of Christ, (Ephesians 5:25-27).