Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Institutional Church, House Church - or NO Church?

Some interesting thoughts:

"We've taught for years the mistaken notion that we need to go to church to fill up on the life of God. Not true! We can only fill up on God's life through a transforming relationship with the Father through his Son. We were never meant to come to fill ourselves with church, but to live full of him and then share his life together with God's people."

I think this is only partially true.  After God's own nature, we were meant to experience relationship as part of what it means to be whole and complete. In other words, there is no way to separate what it means to live a Kingdom-Kind-of-Life outside of a community.

"Here is the problem with most of what passes for church life today, including many house churches: Rather than teaching people how to live dependent on Jesus Christ, it supplants that dependency by its misguided attempt to take the place of Jesus in people's lives."

Again, only partially true. This statement seems to be made under the assumption that somehow God magically transforms us into a different kind of person. That's not what Jesus taught or exemplified.  It is living in a kingdom community that transforms us.  On my own, by myself, I cannot be changed.  There is no magical transformation.  Change comes as we experience the grace of God through other people.

"Instead of teaching them how to live in him, they make them dependent on the structures and gatherings of what we call church."

Yet another partial truth.  There is no way to live in him without living in community. So while the external institutions and structures can be obstructions to community, there is no "in Him" without being "with others".  This is the trinitarian model of God's nature and character.

"But people who are learning to live deeply in a relationship with Jesus will find the sheer joy of sharing life with others who are doing the same."

Again, a misinterpretation.  It is the community that transforms the individual through loving submission and discipleship.

"Unfortunately most believers have no idea how to live that way. We seem content to keep them dependent on our programs and services. It explains why so many expressions of church always promise more than they deliver."

It is undoubtedly true that many institutions, movements and groups prop themselves up on programs, ministries, structures and even idols instead of on the community of Christ. Of course, millions of individuals do the same thing.

Click here for the full article.

1 comment:

len said...

Good points Jeff. Your comments are right on target about the importance of community living in Christ. Thanks for sharing this.