Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

No Perfect Churches

architecture-building-chapel-1533913

There is no perfect congregation. To think you are perfect would be to place yourself above the congregations at Corinth, Rome, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc. These congregations had direct access to inspired apostles. They were much closer to Jesus than we are. They had many advantages that we don’t and yet they still fail short in various ways. We, like these congregations we read about in the New Testament, are flawed in one way or another.

To acknowledge our shortcomings is not to give up on the idea of becoming the congregation God wants us to be. As Christians, we strive daily to become like Jesus knowing we will fall short but we still keep pressing forward. We cannot become more Christlike without owning our faults. To grow in holiness is to recognize our weaknesses so that God can help us to overcome them.

Each generation of Christians will have to make changes to restore/reform the church. The process of restoration/reformation is never complete. It is an ongoing process. This means the church must have the courage to recognize her own shortcomings and make the necessary changes to be a more faithful body. This is not an indictment of the Christians who came before us. As we make changes to more closely follow the teachings of Scripture, we understand that one day the next generation of Christians will have to do the same thing we are doing. No generation has achieved perfection.

If a church holds to the idea they have reached perfection, then they have embraced a stumbling block that will prevent them from maturing in Christ and growing in holiness. This happens more often than one might expect. There is always a temptation to reduce Scripture to an easily manageable set of principles. Once this has been done, there is no need to continue to search for ways to grow in holiness. One can simply embrace the set of principles and claim faithfulness.

We see this in the reduction of worship to five acts. The congregations who embrace this set of principles believe that a faithful congregation is one who adheres to the five acts of worship every Sunday. There are several problems with this belief. The main problem is that Scripture never reduces worship to five acts. This is a man-made reduction that is bound upon others. The other problem is that as Christians have carefully read the Bible over the years, they have identified other acts of worship. One of these acts is the public reading of Scripture (1 Tim. 4:13). When some have tried to rectify this oversight by suggesting responsive readings, longer readings, etc., they have been met with hesitancy. Why? How could any Christian object to the public reading of Scripture? One could if they based faithfulness off of perfectly following a set of principles rather than allowing Scripture to challenge and correct.

Every congregation needs to hold to the truth, but every congregation also needs to be prepared to change in order to better follow God’s ways and grow closer to him. This will happen with each generation and we should not be surprised when it does.

No Responses to “No Perfect Churches”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: