Imperfections Of The Churches
Do not allow churches to separate you from God. This
can happen because the church can be compared to a clumsy
ox of flesh yoked by the Spirit. The ox is clumsy and awkward
as nature may be. Though the church is to be guided by
the spiritual yoke, it is not an easy pull.
In other terms we can say all churches are made of earthy people who are subject to the flesh. They are not consistently transcendent. So the church has periods of transcendence. Then it seems to rest. There are cycles of transcendence and non-transcendence.
The churches, being human, prefer not to face the fact their behavior is sometimes not even civilized. They have inquisitions, thin sermons and snobbish worship. The churches have a divine mission that often includes displaced goals. To use a Biblical comparison, the church is yeasty. Sometimes the yeast rises. Sometimes the yeast does not rise but leaves the dough in an unleavened state of flat inferiority.
We should stick by the church through thick and thin. But there will be thin times when the only reason we attend or support the church is out of a sense of bored responsibility. This is an unfortunate truth to be faced.
There are many churches today that in my view are quite dead. Particularly is this so in many Main Line denominations whose membership has been tamed into spiritual insignificance by a too liberal outlook, a secularized educational system, a brutal commercial view of life and being part and parcel of a decadent society.
The main goal of the churches should be first to put you in touch with the reality of Christ that you may live a life of balanced righteousness and well considered holiness. That is a life of faith. If you are not in touch with the reality of God whose Christ Spirit is alive and walks the earth, then you will surely lack the energy to fuel a Christian life. Our relationship with Christ furnishes the energy to pull the church’s cart of good will and benevolent services.
One of our benevolent services is to support the churches and their many acts of aid to others. But the fact is that no relationship with Christ usually means no energized motivation for good works. Those called unto faith are called unto works. Galatians 5: 6 says “faith worketh by love.” So it helps to know God first since love comes before service as we notice in a family.
Let us then support the church but at times take it with a grain of salt, realizing it may and will often be proven wrong on some issues. No time is that more true than now.
Never confuse the postman with the news he carries. The church is a postman of Christ carrying the Word of God. A postman is needed to carry the Word of God but is not to be confused with the Word of God. Do not confuse THE message with the views of the messenger. Christ is the message: the Word of God incarnate. Church views are not necessarily God’s views. At no other time has this been more evident than our own.
We might remember the churches are the flawed and often over opinionated messengers of God. No one with sound judgment in a church expects it to be perfect. But if the churches cannot be perfect, they can be good. If they cannot be good, they can be normal. If they are normal, they will admit they make mistakes and can be wrong. If the churches act normally, people will identify plainly the problems being experienced.
Only too liberal churches today are neurotic and miserable as they try to set up the neurotic views of the day as the eternal truths of God in a flood of inane statements and puerile revisions by some churches. How are these to be evaluated? What says scripture?
Romans 4:3 says: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Yet today Church people are looked down on as fundamentalists because they believe in fundamentals of the Christian faith. I confirm any belief in the Word of God and all fundamentals of faith. God will count belief in them as righteousness as scripture says, therefore do not hesitate to believe. Belief will make you more whole.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.