Saturday, April 20, 2013

Churches and sinners...

Dr. R. Scott Clark  has been blogging of late on the topic On Churchless Evangelicals (herehere, and here).  I've been posting the links to those articles on my Facebook page.  There have been a number of people who have commented on Dr. Clark's site and a couple at my FB who clearly have been hurt by past church experiences and advocate Christians not belonging to a church.  Unfortunately, their negative experiences have become the soil out of which they've nurtured a rejection of the Church and sometimes even of Jesus Christ.  What follows is a comment left by one reader at FB, an acquaintance and former co-church member from a church back in the 1970s that was at the center of the hurts of many:
This blog [i.e. Clark's blog] should be required reading for any of the 'unchurched' tempted become the 'churched'. Yup! 17 centuries of Romanized elitist organizational structure, elitist culture, book-burning, and heretic-burning has created a very visible church with a fairly unified doctrine alright. But these institutions suffer from an utter lack of credulity, let alone relevance, to anything but themselves.
My response to him:
A rather broad brushed indictment, [name redacted]. Surprise, churches are made up of sinners(!), people who think and do things they ought not and often don't do what they ought. I totally agree that some churches (too many) throughout history (and in our time) have been led by those who, if you would, commandeered Christ's church to their own worldly and self-aggrandizing evil purposes, distorting the good news of the love of God in Christ. But tell me, how does it then follow that all churches are therefore illegitimate? 
Aren't all humans flawed, many doing much evil? Yet even those who are flawed and often sinning also do much that is good. Does it then follow that all humans are only evil and all should be rejected and avoided? Of course that would be absurd.   
Your argument would seem to be the very same kind of logic used by those who would deny that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was raised from the dead for the salvation of sinners. Why? Well, because His followers are flawed and beset by all kinds of sins.  Therefore Christianity is flawed (beset by Christians who sin) and thus illegitimate as a religion and Jesus is not God come in the flesh and no savior. Is that what you are claiming?  I hope not.  The apostle Paul answers well, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." Christians are sinners saved from the consequences of their sins by Jesus, and are found in churches.  By definition churches are flawed.   Come and join.  You'll fit right in.  Peace...

Some related blog posts:
Church or a Clean Club?
Church Banners
"Reckoning ourselves to be..." in the church

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