I don't go to church anymore...
I am part of Christ's Church.
Yes I'm discussing semantics again, but this has helped clarify things for myself personally as well as re-shaped my view of church unity.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "John 17:20-23 (NIV)An initial response to Christ's prayer for our unity was to pray for and seek to find some sort of unity between all the Christian denominations. I'm now not sure if this is going to happen, and maybe it isn't even required.
The change of view is this. I used to view Christ's Church as some sort of grouping of a bunch of 'Bible believing churches'. Then when I started looking at a variety of church traditions, I was struggling at first trying to picture how all these other organizations who called themselves 'Church' could all be part of Christ's Church, and in some united way.
Here is where I went wrong. Notice how the word 'Church' is used in our local phone book:
Bethesda Church, Christ The King Family Church, Riverwood Church Community, Berean Baptist Church , Holy Trinity Church , Faith Baptist Church, Oasis Community Church, All Saints' Church, Dakota Community Church, Faith Covenant Church, Glory & Peace International Church, Heritage Baptist Church, Maples Community Church, Saint James Lutheran Church, St Ignatius Church, Victory Baptist Church, Immanuel Pentecostal Church ...Compare that to how the word 'Church' is used in the Bible.
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matt 16:18 NIV)I think we often use the word 'church' in a confusing way.
"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria." (Acts 8:1 NIV)
"But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison." (Acts 8:3 NIV)
"Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace." (Acts 9:31 NIV)
"News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch." (Acts 11:22 NIV)
- "What church do you go to?"
- "I didn't see you at church on Sunday?"
- "What time is church?"
- "Do you want to get together after church?"
There is likely no harm intended in the way we use the word 'church'. I admit it is easier than saying "What is the name and location of the community of Christ followers with whom you regularity fellowship with?"
But the way I see things now, I don't go to church, I am part of Christ's Church here locally and around the world. And in terms of unity of Christ's Church... it is easier to picture unity between all those who are truly Christ followers, regardless of where they spend their Sunday (or other) mornings.
- Church Etymology
- Jesus on Church
- My 95 Thesis - Point 13 - Temple Worship
- What if Sunday morning was like an NBA game
- Thoughts on membership
- Some membership questions - with some verses
- Starting a new church
- When can we be church
- Parable of life-saving station
- Elders in Christs church
- Learning Triangle
- If Starbucks marketed like church
- Sabbath vs Day of Sun
- Should pastors be paid a salary
- Asleep in the pews
- The Wealthy Church
- History Repeats Itself
- Thank You Institutional Church
- History of speaking up in church
- Church Leaders
- The Lords Supper
- Community I desire
- Leadership is not decision making
- The Pastor
- Dave Black on Pastors
- Biblical Elders