Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I don't go to Church

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)

"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)
I think we often use the word 'church' in a confusing way.
  • "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?"
What are we talking about when we use the word church? Do we mean the name of the building? The name of the organization/institution? The name of a Sunday morning event?

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.

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Elle Pyke said...

Great Post! Thanks for sharing your heart...

Tiffany Jenkins said...

very true

Good thoughts.

Have you ever read up about the origins of the word church by the way? It's quite interesting and i find very few people are aware of it.

I firmly believe that while the words we use as we communicate about life may not of themselves be hugely important, they often reflect and affect our mindsets and how we view things.

We've spoken of Church as a building, organization and event so long that for many that's exactly what it is.

thanks for sharing

Jonathan said...

Thanks, no I hadn't read up on the origins of the word church.... I just found this article... very interesting.


Thanks Tiffany.