There’s a bumper sticker getting around with, “I love my church” written on it with the name of a religious organisation tacked on behind it. This latest piece of “traffic jam theology” for some reason really gets on my goat. Whenever I see it I think, “Who is that written for? For what reason? Whats the goal?”
It is highly (HIGHLY) unlikely that any one reading this will be convicted of their sin and place their trust in Christ. And if it’s written for other Christians, what’s the implication. “I love my church but yours I don’t?”
Fellow Christian you are not supposed to love your church. You are supposed to love His church. And even that should pale in to nothingness compared to your love for the head of the church, CHRIST JESUS. Anything else is idolatry.
Of course the “brains” behind this particular sloganeering is the “right reverend” who is Pastor of the congregation that is loved by the slogan bearer.
Although this may seem like a small issue it points to a deep misunderstanding of the theology of Christ, the church and salvation.
Many a pastor really thinks the congregation he ministers to is his church. And his church must exhibit certain signs before he (or she, but let’s not go there) is recognised as “successful”. And the signs have much to do with membership rolls, Sunday crowds, budgets, offerings and influence with man. Unfortunately too rarely the pastor views success in terms of obedience, faithfulness and spiritual growth in himself and the congregation.
This leads to the ridiculous situation where church leaders can be viewed as successful by their peers and not even be saved. Similarly large impressive “churches” can be nearly devoid of biblical literacy or even of truly born again believers. And I’m not talking here of liberal churches but those who claim to believe the scriptures.
“I love my church” is simply a more blatant example of the churchianity that has cursed followers of Christ since the earliest of days. What is it that is loved? Is it “dead to self” Christ followers filling the auditorium or sanctuary every week, or is it a “pumping” youth group an “awesome” children’s ministry,”amazing” musos or “wonderful” fascilities?
Is it a likeable preacher who gives relevent messages on success in relationships and business life or is it a bold courageous shepherd who fears God and God alone?
The whole business model of church is an affront and insult to the Saviour who bought and paid for the true church with His blood. To love a religious franchise is a modern demonstration of the reversal of the reformation. All the things that the martyrs of a previous generation rejected in religious dictatorships are being increasingly and rapidly reintroduced to a new generation that is ignorant of the sacrifices of the past.
The disciples of the early and fire filled years of the church did not have impotent slogans plastered on their donkeys. They declared to all and sundry their love for the Saviour and the reflected love for those who also loved their Lord. They did not love a building or a leadership group or a location where they met, they loved Christ and what He had done for them. And they were carefull to an extreme degree to ensure men did not see them as something impressive. They knew their God does not share His glory with another. Neither man nor organisation.
Those who find themselves in leadership of those who claim the heavenly regeneration are carefully watched by the Ultimate Shepherd. If they abuse, deceive or rob God’s people of truth there will for them be a fearsome day of reckoning.
The nonsense that goes on today in supposedly Christ adoring churches is largely the result of unsaved or biblically illiterate leaders. It’s too often ignorant, selfishly ambitious charmingly deceptive and institutionalised little kings robbing the church of power, as they graspingly accumulate personal power, wealth and applause. This is not true of all of them of course, but far too many. There are too many who bask in the deep and vain delusion of themselves as Pastor/king, Pastor/CEO, Pastor/prophet or even Pastor/Pope. In reality they are in deep trouble, and although it’s no laughing matter they are Pastor/Joke.
You have raised up shepherds over your flock. Strengthen and protect those who have been called. For those who are self appointed and who would direct mens attention away from You and Your glorious good news in Christ. Expose them, remove them and grant them repentance. Give us Lord, true prophets not politicians in the pulpits. Grace us with preachers of the Your word not clever speakers of mens ideas. Fill us with Your love for Your church and a distaste for the religious creations of unregenerate humanity.
In the name of Christ the Head of the church and the Saviour of those who call on His name.