Many Churches Are Bad, Broken and Messy, But Our Good God Is Remaking Them to Be Holy

Image: Illustration by Keith Negley
Image: Illustration by Keith Negley

Charlie was an active 11-year-old with autism. His parents had been thinking about attending church. They decided it was time to try to find a congregation that would love them, and love their son. About halfway through Sunday school one morning, Charlie’s parents were summoned. The volunteers couldn’t handle him. They were asked to find another church, because this church “just couldn’t meet his needs.” Other churches conveyed the same sentiment. The family finally gave up and decided that attending church was too hard.

We all know people who have been hurt by the church. People who have been so offended, wounded, or even abused that they have given up on it. Perhaps you’ve had this experience yourself.

Church is sometimes dysfunctional, uncomfortable, cross-purposed, and painful. We have pastors who fail God, themselves, and their congregations. We endure grumpy, self-righteous criticism reminiscent of the Pharisees. We fight each other, sometimes to the point of parting ways for good. Some observers say we are in danger of losing a whole generation of embittered souls who believe the church has lost its relevance and neglected their needs.

And yet we continue to call the church holy. According to the Nicene Creed, the church has four classical marks: It is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” We confess that the church is formed through the Holy Spirit and participates in God’s own holiness. Sometimes we call it the “spotted bride” of Christ. At other times we proclaim, in the words of a 19th-century hymn, “‘Tis a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle.” How, then, do we explain the seeming contradiction between what we believe about the church and what we experience in the church? Is it wishful thinking to proclaim the church holy? Are pain and heartache just inevitable?

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Diane Leclerc

One comment

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV

    What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be
    done so that the church may be built up.

    The Lord showed me a vision 02/26/2013 and in this vision I saw people gathered around an oval table. The table was low to the ground so that you had to sit on the floor. The people I saw sitting there around the table each had a piece of a puzzle. As they all worked together, the image on the puzzle began to take shape and when they were finished, the picture was of Jesus Christ. He was the center of the meeting. Each one had to do his part in finishing the puzzle and it was not left to one person to do the work of the group. This is how real relationships are built and what church done Jesus’ way should foster.

    This is church.

    The only reason for the gathering of believers was to re-assemble the body of Christ with each part, I.e., the foot, the hand, the eye, etc. doing its part so that the church, Christ’s body on earth may be edified and that Christ may be glorified.

    They did not gather because of a charismatic leader, I.e., a pastor.

    They didn’t gather because of church programs.

    They didn’t gather because of the worship team.

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