I was reading a theology guy from the early 1900’s. He bemoaned the “feebleness of the church.”
As I read theology from various centuries, it is fun to notice consistencies over the years. At no point has any theologian said, “Hey, cool, look how awesome the church is doing! We’re really nailing it!”
The church has always been failing.
Yes, we like to point to Acts and how “they had all things in common” and how awesome it was. But notice very shortly thereafter, Ananias and Sapphira totally mess it up.
If the Church ever had a glory day, it was more like a glory half-hour.
The earliest written epistles were written to fix error that was in the church. The New Testament is a constant cry to wake up, fight the fight, watch, be sober, etc.
The Church had already fallen asleep and were bogged down in apathy and false doctrine, and the Bible wasn’t even done yet!
I think we miss that point in our modern-day angst over the poor church.
There is a fun involved with bashing the church. If I can point out how bad “the church” is, obviously I am assuming I don’t have this problem. It’s a great way of saying “Hey, just follow my awesomeness, church!”
I like to bash on the church. Jesus bashed on the religious elites of His day. I think it’s natural and necessary. But it can also just be self-righteous boasting.
Most church bashing is done by those too lazy to go. Another large part is done by those trying to get you to buy their book, product, or church building system. Other church bashing is done by those hurt by a twisted church. Some church bashing is done by those who sincerely care for its future. We should discern between these.
The Church doesn’t “work,” just like theocratic Israel didn’t “work.”
Nothing works until Christ comes to clean house and establish righteousness.
No, this doesn’t mean we chill and wait. It means we take care of ourselves. Judgment begins with the house of God. If each of us took our responsibility in the Body of Christ–the exercise of our spiritual gifts–our individual churches would be better.
Not perfect, but better.
Instead, we like to compare ourselves to Joel Osteen, Rob Bell, and the latest manifestations of antichrist, and relax that we’re not as bad as those guys.
Look to Christ. Do your part as a member of His Body. Fight the fight. Wake up. There’s never been a time when that wasn’t vital to spiritual health.
In the end, the Church works just fine as it is the pillar and ground of the truth. Those in the Truth benefit from the church just fine. The Church was never intended to “change the world;” it was intended to build up the believer into the perfect man Christ Jesus.
I am one believer who has been built up by the Church, and I am forever grateful.