Why Christianity doesn't work (Part 3)

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

The last post has opened the door to many questions, and the main one that has been asked over and over is, "Geoff, do you not believe in the church?"

The short answer is yes, the long answer...still yes (am I saying yes I do believe in the church or no I don't, what I mean to say is that I do believe in the church...man I can't even answer my own question to myself??). I can't argue against the importance of the church, it's biblical! In the verse above, Paul talks to the church in Corinth and speaks of the church as something sacred. It is something holy, that His spirit lives in the church.

We all know that the church isn't the building, but it is us as fellow Christ followers. That is the church. We are the church! Paul writes in Corinthians as well that we are one body that one part can't say to the other "We don't need you!" (1 Cor 12:12ff)

So what I was getting at in the whole conversation "conversation" was that it's not supposed to replace the church, it is supposed to be the church. In regards to the building, order of service, giving etc aspect I do see the value in it. I understand that people need someone to teach them, they need a place to call their own, and they need to have a place to give. My issue with all of this is that I think we're not grasping the idea of what church should be. Mr. Green (of the Adam kind) so kindly commented that the early church met together in the Temple to be taught and learn together. There is rhyme and reason to meeting together, as a group. That is what the body is supposed to do.

My issue is that there are so many people doing so many things, all confessing that Jesus is God. The Catholics, the Presbyterians (on a side note I heard a "Christian" song in which the verse sang ' You love the Presbyterians; You love the gays and the lesbians' I could not stop laughing, all for the fact the author of this song wanted lesbians in the song, and the only thing the rhymes sensibly is Presbyterians!! Hahaha...oh man...people are dumb...anyways back to the task at hand) The issue, right...doing many things, Lutheran, Baptist, Mennonite etc...the list goes on.

We're all on the same team, however people can't seem to make up their mind on where to go, what to do. If you're a bible believing, Jesus loving church, we're on the same side! Yet, the feeling I get more often than not is the attitude of competition! Well, this church isn't doing this right so lets start our own thing, and do it right, to which another church says the same thing, and then another and yet another.

Christianity (Church) isn't about being innovative, it's about being faithful to Jesus!

Mark Driscol (Preaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church Seattle)

We need to understand that doing things together is the way the church is going to make an impact. How are we to “change the world” when we can’t even get along with other people who profess they love and serve the same God. We need to be faithful to our call to love, and love well (Phil 1:9)

The conversations need to stem further than our front doors. Leaders are so preoccupied making their church better that they forget that no man is an island. Building a house is easier with more people. Conversation opens the door to get past differences, to understand that you don’t speak in tongues and I do! That’s great. Do you love Jesus? Yes! Then lets move forward together.

Why are our churches not making change, to go back to Paul’s words…”If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him…” What doesn’t work is the thinking that they’re gonna do our thing, they’re gonna do theirs! What it needs to be is community of Christ followers, doing the work together, showing the world that we can do what Jesus asked us.

“Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind”
Jesus (God, master, Messiah praying for us!)


Adam Green said...

I've been trying to deal with the disunity that I've noticed in the church for awhile. I've listened to so many people/organizations who say, "we want to partner with other churches" but they mean churches of the same kind (pentecostals with pentecostals etc.).

It's a bit of a joke.

Even in YWAM though they talked a lot about partnering with churches around them they never really did (not in the PARTNER sense anyway), not once did a church help with a ywam event - ywam helped with church events, but never vise versa - as if to say 'WE have something to offer THEM'.

It's a disgusting attitude!

Why? We feel that the (insert denomination) aren't Spirit-filled? or we think we have the answers? or we're innovative?

We've created an us vs. them culture, (both between denominations and the world - which is a different story)

In other words, I couldn't agree with you more!

The problem is how does it get fixed? How do we actively address the problem and stay away from 'us vs. them' mentality?

Geoff said...

I agree Adam...

I think what is happening, slowly with the new generations is that denominational lines are getting blurred further and further. 10 Years ago when I was in youth group I was Pentecostal...now my youth go to 2 other youth groups sometimes, they're just Christ followers. Denominational loyalty means nothing, and in some regards, I think that will be part of the catalyst for change...

Geoff said...

Loyalty should lay in the Jesus...not in religion....

Dan Richardson said...

I could get burned at the stake for saying this but here goes nothing. Our church is "pentecostal" but we don't advertise it (even though we're technically required to). In fact, the only people that actually care what denomination we are...you guessed it...are the church hoppers. The people that don't go to church couldn't give a rip. Their primary concern is if they feel comfortable or not. If they don't, they don't come back.

When we are asked what kind of church we are, we typically say Christian. Then the religious types ask what denomination we are and we'll sometimes ask "What do you mean?" Then they get all flustered and stuff...good 'ol church people. It's a fun game...you should try it...haha.

I'm totally tracking with you about our allegiance to Jesus.

We are hoping to start up a church planting network in the near future and the biggest question that I have right now is "Does it have to be pentecostal?" And if it isn't, what will be the fall out.

The fact that I have to ask that question drives me nuts. The truth of the matter is that I hate any label except "follower of Jesus". The problem is that, if history does in fact repeat itself, even that label is going to get corrupted unless we get a little more vigilant about protecting it's dignity.

So now that I'm at the end of my rant, I'm not sure what the solution is. Even with denominations stripped away, I'm not sure that will solve the problem with churches fighting (even though I think it will help remove another barrier to people who aren't followers of Jesus connecting to Him)

I think the primary issue here is arrogance. Arrogance isn't thinking you are right. It's thinking you are right and then making sure everyone else around you knows they are wrong. We have to learn to keep our mouths shut. (For instance, bashing other churches/denominations from the pulpit for starters - that makes me wanna freak out!)

But even then, is that really the answer?

Adam Green said...

why do we need any labels?
'Christian' was a mocking term, 'Christ followers' is a counter term to try and say 'Christian' without the negative connotations - or the shame (it doesn't work btw).

I choose no labels.

Geoff said...

Oooo Adam...

I have a label for you, but I am learning self control!

Anyways...good discussion so far...

Christian I still think is a mocking term...

But I agree with you both...the label doesn't mean anything...what makes the difference is our attitude in what we do...

ie loving our enemies, doing everything without complaining, serving rather than stabbing people in the back...etc...that's leaves us label-less, and "little Christs'" so to speak...

Anonymous said...

I have always said the "church" isn't inside 4 walls but inside ones heart...

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