I’m starting to have doubts about the ‘evangelical church.’ Despite all the quotes we’ve all heard like “the church is a whore but she is my mother” and other likewise, I’m growing more skeptical as my experiences start to find themselves enveloped by its large wings. I have a feeling that when Jesus comes back, he isn’t going to look at the evangelical church and say here is what you did wrong, and here is what you did right. I have a feeling he isn’t even going to look at the evangelical church at all, well at least no more than he will look at Nike. The evangelical church has turned into a corporation, and while many people that attend churches with that label on it may be good Jesus following people, no longer can we look at the evangelical church as the body of Christ (not saying we ever could) and no longer can I consider myself as part of this label. Jesus is not coming back for the evangelical church.
The bigger the evangelical church gets, the more noise key movements and people inside of it make and the less like Jesus it looks. Of course, as it plays out it is always the loud ones that look nothing like Jesus so they get the most attention and media coverage which results in more people going in that direction. Then what ends up happening, is the minorities (sometimes the ones that actually look like Jesus) in the evangelical church start finding themselves defending the church to everyone around them against all the loud-mouths that are getting heard. So not only are they leading people astray with all their harmful theologies they are tying up precious time of people who actually love Jesus and the church.
I’m starting to understand the church as a lot more universal as the evangelical church sees it. The church certainly spreads over the evangelical church but it not limited to just that. When Paul is writing in Galatians 3
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
I am convinced that if he was to write this letter today it would read that “there is neither evangelical nor catholic, rich nor poor, American or African, male nor female, oppressed or free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The church is bigger than the evangelical church and that is the church that I am part of. The church is not a whore; the church is the hands and feet of Jesus. The church is not messed up; the church looks exactly as Jesus wanted it to look. The church is sneakier than we think. While it is easy for us to look at horrible things in church history and be distraught at how messed up the church was we can be rest assured that the true church, the church that was following Jesus was there in the cracks constantly subverting the empire and bringing justice and mercy to everyone around them. The true church doesn’t get much media attention. The true church doesn’t need to be heard. The true church doesn’t need to point to itself and say God is here so come here because it is too busy going there and bringing God to people. The true church cannot be pinpointed and labelled. The true church is where Jesus is moving and won’t be institutionalized or branded or even get a logo or a committee board. The true church is what I am trying to be part of as I struggle to follow Jesus. The true church spreads over every race, denomination, gender, orientation, philosophy and physical kingdom and that is the church that I am a member of. That is the church that Jesus is coming for.