The Perfect Church

perfect church

I’ve been looking for the “perfect Church” for a long long time but I haven’t found it yet. I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of you folks out there that are in the same boat that I am in. In my younger Christian days I was initially shocked to find opposition come from within the Church. My thinking was I expected it from without but not from within. I was wrong.

Now that I am older and a significant amount of water has gone under the bridge, my understanding about the “perfect Church” has changed. It’s pretty simple really, there are no perfect Churches because there are no perfect people, anywhere, within buildings designated as Churches or within homes where believers meet together or at the individual humanistic level. We are all imperfect, every one of us, without exception. That is a reality.

And, right from the onset we need to understand or clarify exactly what the Church is and also what it isn’t.

If you’re a Christian, church is not something we go to. It’s something we are.

You can’t disassociate from church as a Christian anymore than you can disassociate from humanity as a person.

We don’t go to church. We are the church. Going to Church is a figure of speech.

And it is important to acknowledge that the Church is part of God’s plan,

Ephesians 3:10-11 NIV says: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Did you catch that part where the Apostle Paul says “the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms“?

Do you see what God is doing? He is showing His wisdom, according to His eternal purpose, that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what we are talking about here is God’s intent, God’s demonstrated manifold wisdom, that He accomplished in Christ Jesus, being made known to heavenly rulers and authorities. I like to think of it as we are God’s showcase, how He demonstrates what He has and will accomplish through His Son.

And how exactly does God do this? Via us interacting in the Church. It’s also part of God’s design that we should interact while we’re on this planet, face to face, person to person.

Colossians 1:17-19 NIV says: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,”

Kind of makes you stop and think that we’re not doing all that well doesn’t it? And there is a reason for that thinking, the fact is we aren’t doing all that well. I could produce a list of things that we could do better but I’m sure you can easily make up your own list.

Yet there are some who would advocate that we disassociate ourselves from the institutionalized or organized Church for a variety of reasons. I could list the reasons for this too but again I’m sure you can make your own list.

But disconnecting yourself from community is actually less faithful than connecting yourself to a flawed community.

And notice that the early church did indeed gather. Gathering always leads to some form of organizing. To pretend the church doesn’t need to be organized is as logical as arguing that society doesn’t need to be organized. Because community is inevitable, organization is inevitable. Our ability to organize and to accomplish more together than we can alone is one of the crowning achievements of humanity, and our ability to work together makes Christian effort far more effective. It’s the unity of us working together under the leadership of our head, Jesus, and His empowerment of the various members of the body wherein Christ is glorified and God the Father is glorified. 

And what are we doing, are we building the Church up, the body of Christ, or are we tearing it down or even worse, walking away from it.

The only one who wants us to believe that we are better off alone is our enemy.

Almost all of us who follow Jesus have had our lives changed by a flawed member of the body called the church that Jesus so passionately loves and calls his own. Think about that, key word being “flawed”.

We all know that the Scriptures admonishes us NOT to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as stated in Hebrews 10:25 Note that it says “as we see the Day approaching”.  Are we seeing that Day approach? Are we assembling ourselves together?

Yet some would say that the Scriptures tell us to come out of Babylon as in Revelations chapter 18. I agree, we’re talking about the Tribulation and the coming one world religion that the Beast will showcase….. but we’re not there yet. Context in Scripture is always vitally important.

There have been many Christians that have been wounded by other so called Christians and Christians, some grievously. I know that, I have experienced that myself but not as harsh as some have. It is only natural for us to want to protect ourselves from being hurt again. But …. by protecting ourselves, we limit what Christ can do, in us and in others. I’m not advocating that you join yourself to a Church that doesn’t preach the Gospel, God can and will lead you to a Church where you can be at home. It won’t be perfect and you may get hurt again. It happens. But God can also heal and create bonds that makes up for the negatives. One of the greatest joys that we experience on this earth is the love and fellowship of some of our brethren, that also is a reality. I don’t know about you but I need that, in spite of the dangers, in spite of the imperfections. In truth, all real relationships are like that, marriage is, real friendships are,

There are some who literally can’t fellowship with others face to face, at Church, on a regular basis. I think of my friend Bill Sweeney who has ALS. He would if he could but he simply can’t. He does have many who fellowship with him via multimedia means. And he is definitely part of the body of Christ, the Church. And He is loved. Precious man and his precious wife Mary.

I have hurt others, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not intentionally but I’ve hurt them nevertheless. Where I am able to, I apologize and ask for forgiveness and try real hard not to do it again. It happens, to us and by us. We forgive because we also need forgiveness. It’s part of the process, it’s part of becoming Holy. It’s part of us growing in Christ and letting Him have His way in us. Don’t rob Jesus of His glory.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

5 comments

  1. Dear Sir,
    I must protest your misrepresentation in this post of our convictions and our church situation, which you have veiled by generalizing, and cast all non-churchgoers into a big pot of misfits and crybabies who are in alleged disobedience to God and his word. I state this because you have been debating this with my wife on her site several times recently to the point of being obnoxious, and now have pointed her here to read this rendition, hoping to finally straighten her out, or so it seems.

    She has clearly stated her reasons for not being a part of the organized institutional church structure in America, which is voluntarily and unnecessarily subservient to the US government via the 501C-3 business structure agreement, which makes it operate as a business under the leadership and authority of the state. She has also clearly stated many times it is in direct obedience to God that she remains outside this unholy union between the church and the government, not mistreatment nor preference.

    She has asked you several times on her site to back off in your relentless attempts to correct her to your more classic use of Hebrews 10:25, which she knows full well and obeys within God’s will and direction without your approval, yet you continue to “needle” her in this matter, like a gnat picking at her face. Should she disobey God?

    Has she been hurt by the institutional church? Who hasn’t? Have we faced excessive and ungodly treatment in many churches and denominations? Yes, and that wasn’t God’s will. We have been told more than once by these exclusive “bodies of Christ” that “we don’t need you”, which clearly goes against Scripture. And we have watched as these Bruce-approved churches have watered down the Gospel and have become more and more worldly. Except even you don’t approve of all of them either. per your post. Yet you insist we go find one and go there because we’re supposed to?

    My wife has made her case many times, but you just don’t get it or don’t like it. So, you keep judging and badgering and taking shots at her on her site, and now have invited her to read this version on yours. I even tried to gently and generically bring up this situation of your treatment of her to you on your site in another post to clue you in, because I have treated her like you in the past and I deeply regret it, but you didn’t get it.

    If God opened the door for us to go to an institutional church, we’d be there early and involved, hurts and all. Don’t confuse her kind and gentle spirit with weakness or lack of knowledge or resolve. You will not bully her to think like you if God shows her something else, and shortly, she will block you if you will not respect her and her requests to drop this topic, including snide comments and other articles you point her to on your site.

    You and I still have the privilege to have access to this wonderful servant of God – someone who I promise would do everything God asked her to and has many times at great personal cost. I misunderstood and misused her many years, but by God’s grace I am changing and seeing his beauty and grace in her more clearly. How you could have said what you did to her on her site when she shared about her foot-washing experience and God’s miracles in her life is beyond imagination. It was like a bird dropping crap in the middle of a beautiful diamond ring.

    Please rethink your approach with her and ask God to open your eyes to his truth, and treat her with the respect she deserves as God’s precious daughter and valued servant.

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    • Rick, you have my word that I shall not discuss this with her again. I could take issue with some of your statements but I chose not to. Blessings.

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  2. I, too, believe we need to be involved with a local body of believers, Bruce. And since my husband is a former youth pastor, I understand how there can be hurt in the church. Indeed, I know firsthand that no church is perfect. Yet, like you, I deeply feel my need to fellowship with other believers. I cannot do this journey alone. I need the support and encouragement of others who follow Christ. And so, my husband and I are part of a local body. I suspect that some who are conscientious objectors (to the modern organization of the church under current tax codes) accomplish Hebrews 10:25 through meeting in homes with other believers to study the Word rather than participating in churches that are registered for tax purposes. I trust that is the case. House churches are wonderful. And yes, there are many who cannot attend for physical reasons. My father was bed-ridden for 17 years. I know this well. Your post is incredibly thought-provoking as always. God bless you, my friend.

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    • Thanks Lynn, sincerely appreciate you taking the time to give me feedback as often as you do. It’s always nice to hear from you. God’s grace and blessings on you and yours.

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