I’m not anti-church, though some people think I am. I can see why, sometimes I say and write things that aren’t very complimentary of the church. I saw an ad for a congregation that was looking for a preacher several years ago. One of the “qualifications” was “someone who is not critical of the church.” Now those of us from a church of Christ heritage know exactly what this congregation meant by “THE CHURCH”–but I thought that was a funny qualification to have for a minister.
Something about that qualification suggests that there is nothing wrong with the church and the problem lies with those who criticize it. Believe me, I don’t think criticism is an enviable trait. We shouldn’t go out of our way to be critical, but there are times when someone, somewhere needs to hold up a mirror to the church and force it to see itself as it really is. My experience has been that churches become overwhelmed with being the institution of “the church” and dismiss being the body of Jesus to the world. When I am critical of the church, other Christians, and even myself, it is because I have been re-awakened to the vast difference in how people responded to Jesus and how people respond to church.
John Eldredge puts it this way: “Common folk tear roofs off houses to get to him (Jesus). They literally trample each other in an effort to get closer to this man. I’ve never seen anyone acting like this in order to get a chance to serve on some church committee or to hear a sermon on why dancing ‘is the devil.'”
Instead of trying to recreate the 1st century or cut and paste the slivers of information we have about the Christian churches in the New Testament (most of which are pretty bad churches), perhaps our churches should re-commit themselves to simply living in the way of Jesus? Maybe then people might rush to us too.