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Church: Without Man-Made Restrictions

It’s been a while since my last post, there is still some discussion going on about biblical inerrancy on the post two before this one, so check it out and participate if you want, its taking some interesting directions. I’m home for Christmas so I’m not in front of my computer (with my beautiful new flat screen, thanks Ron) as much as usual.

With a church plant coming up in my future within the next year, naturally I have been thinking a lot about church. We’ve all heard the sermon by now that we don’t go to church because we are the church. I’ve been constantly trying to rid from my speech the act of talking about church as if it’s a place rather than a people. I find myself still continually saying I’m going to church, or complaining about the church or something that defeats the true meaning of the language. I know that the church isn’t a building; I know that it’s not an institution but rather a living organism that we call the Body of Christ. So why do I and thousands of other still say we are going to church and speak of church as a physical place or a gathering of some sort?

After talking about church for as long as we have as a place we go to on Sunday morning or an organization it gets engrained into our head. Just because we aren’t using the language doesn’t mean that the real Church doesn’t exist. Many times over and over again we would make the mistake of equating this place or this organization with the true church of Christ, and I think this is one of the gravest mistakes that we can make. I found myself constantly criticizing the church (organization, place) but in doing that I found myself just getting confused, because all of sudden now we have one word for two different meanings.

I don’t want to try to change all of culture and try to make everyone use the word church properly. The fact is no matter what I criticize in the church, within this corrupt organizational consumeristic place, exists the true Body of Christ. It looks nothing like our church, but it never ceases to exist within it. I don’t know how many churches that I’ve been too that when I’m looking at the building, staff, ideologies and actions as a whole they look like a cheap entertainment industry, but within that I see people who are part of the Body of Christ carrying out the work of the Church of God. Whether it be in a Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Vineyard, Emergent, Reformed church or no church at all, I think that on the outside they are pretty messed up and look nothing like God intended for his Church to really look like, but when you open them up you see Christ’s body living and active in all these small areas. It’s hard to see sometimes because we want to judge a believer by his denomination or what he pledges himself too; wouldn’t that be so convenient.

All this to say, as frustrated with church as I become I can be confident to know that the true Church (that isn’t organized into labels or denominations) walks around boldly doing the work of the Kingdom and their language is love. I hope we can be confident that God’s Church is growing and getting stronger and it exists not between walls or movements but is connected by the Spirit in ways that we can’t comprehend. Thank-you God for still moving and using the True church despite our failed attempts to organize, categorize and institutionalize your beautiful gift to us.

One Comment

  • Nate,

    I agree, kinda.

    Personally I think that it’s better to say that the chuch consists of people. To say that the church is people, even Christian people, is somewhat neglectful of the inhereantly institutional nature of the church. For example the church is to have office bearers that perform a certian function. This makes it an indentifiable institution that can be seen. Moreover the church meets in the Unity of the (singular) true faith. This too makes it identifiable. In other words the church must find part of its identity in something other than people.

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