Christ’s Body, Christ's Choice
This will be a rather patched together flow of thoughts based on an article entitled, "I Love Jesus But Not The Church Just Means You don't Love Jesus." That may be a little harsh, but the author, Grayson Gilbert, makes some valid points. They are useful if they can make the reader angry enough to eventually do some careful soul searching, if he finds himself in the "unchurcher" category.
Here is the link to read first:
The foregoing link made its way onto my radar screen earlier. The following remarks about it, after reviewing the article, are based on my own experience, a deeper look at Scripture over the years, and a willingness to admit to having bought into the subtle lie that "you can make it on your own spiritually."
I’m pretty much in full agreement with the linked article. It needs expansion. I could write a sequel. (Maybe this is it.) The Body of Christ is not severed from its head, but apparently there are “believers” who believe in spiritual decapitation through non participation in the Body. In my opinion, this is due to lack of admitting to motives: Am I going to church to watch everyone else or am I there to participate in worship of Christ, and to receive from Him? Am I here to create God in my own image and “do it my way”?
Been there, done that - trying to reinvent the wheel, as an “independent" Christian, thinking Jesus and my Bible and my coffee were all I need. I bought into all the memes, such as the non contextually oft quoted idea that God does not dwell in temples made with hands. No, He cannot be contained in temples made with hands, but is it really a crime that costs one his or her salvation, when the members of the Body have a house of worship designated for their coming together? We should be cautious of this critical view that condemns this, for it is not far from Judas criticizing the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her spikenard, sparing no expense. Jesus commended and defended rather than condemned her.
I had to move through shifts of popular paradigms and several churches before finding one that actually believes, teaches, and practices what Christ and His Apostles put forth from the beginning. It was not easy because Satan does not want us participating in the Body of Christ. The writer has a good handle on this.
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." Says 1 Jn 3:14. Love of the brethren is a sign of having "passed from death unto life.” It means showing up for one another and gathering together, for worship and fellowship - in full awareness that the Church is a place for the sin sick soul, not those who are sure they’re perfect. That's not just emotional lip service. Love is a verb. Love is involvement in the Body. If we cannot love the brethren, realizing we’re all present to be part of one another’s healing, how shall we love our enemies as Christ commands? That's pretty clear. (Or how shall we love God Whom we cannot see?)
But beyond that, there are the gifts, ministries, offices etc, all of which are there because we are not "saved" alone, or by means of only a one time event. These exist for the perfecting (maturing) of the Saints. Additionally the individual Christian has been personally given gifts and resources to offer and to build up the Body of Christ. So when you think you can do without the Church, you are also denying the Holy Spirit His due to offer what He desires to offer through you.
An attitude of criticism and grudge holding are forms of unforgivingness, and maybe even some stubbornness - if we can dare to be that honest in prayerful soul searching. If we do not forgive, neither will our Father forgive us. Jesus is clear. We need to repent of our own ways, since there is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12. One of those “ways” is to think that because I have the Bible and the Holy Spirit, I don’t need anyone else.
We need to go in and be what we're supposed to be IN the Body of Christ. It is also true that iron sharpens iron. Proverbs 27:17. And it is His Body, with physical beings, none of whom are perfect, and some we judge as not being where WE THINK they need to be, for whom God intends a physical, bodily resurrection. The Church is what God appointed (Christ’s body, Christ’s choice), and it's been so since Her beginning. Not some sort of disconnected etheric spiritual network nebulously hovering over the ground, with no solid doctrines or practices, where anything goes. That idea, BTW, comes straight out of Gnosticism, which marginalizes God's physical creation, and ultimately the Incarnation of Christ Himself. (Yes, I get it that too many operate like a business, because they are a business, sadly - also often in bed with the government. Find something that isn’t this.) We're meant to work out our salvation with fear and trembling WITHIN the Body of Christ, where His Spirit dwells with us, both as individuals and amidst the Body as a whole.
It's just like our physical body: if a vital organ is removed, and anyone thinks it will survive on its own outside the body, that would be very foolish indeed. It will eventually whither, die, and dry up.
There are some big promoters of this hit and miss individualism m.o., and I pray God will grant them repentance and silence them. Some have even been given a chance on TED Talks - a completely secular humanist platform - to basically denounce the Body of Christ and promote their brand of spiritual individualism. This is just another divide and conquer method of Satan who is busily cancelling not only culture but attempting to do so with the Church.
You can have Jesus, your Bible, and your coffee. And you should - in the context of your PERSONAL prayer life and devotion. You can even have fellowship over coffee with a little Bible study, or a hymn sing at your house. These can be part of the network of salvation. But what is still needed is regular and committed participation in the Body of Christ too. It’s called going to Church, while being the Church. It’s both and, not either or. It’s showing up for work - His work in you in a bigger way. We are to be living stones, making up a gathering of those stones into a spiritual house, not rolling stones. Why should that be left up for grabs???
PS: By the way, lets get rid of the devil’s “contemporary” rock and roll music, dance routines, and smoke and light shows in those Evangelical “services.” Church is not religious entertainment for the younger crowd. But just ask Rick Warren - it “sells” ear tickling religion to the carnally minded, and it's all about market appeal. There are no foundational teachings either. Those need to be brought back. Along with a sense of reverence, respect, awe, and beauty. And much, much more...
For an in depth history and overview of just about every Christian and non Christian religion and their impact as to how things got to where they are today, go to https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/introduction_doctrine_matters You may have to scroll through the content, as it’s basically upside down on this format, but well worth the effort to hear all the podcasts, and to understand that the kerfuffle of religion has not taken place overnight. Satan has sown his seeds of falsehood and lies for a very long time. In my opinion this business of “Just Jesus and me” is his latest subtle tactic on the churches.
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