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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank You Institutional Church

OK, some recent blog posts have been questioning elements of the institutional church. It's time for something positive.

"Exploring Church History" by Perry Thomas is a book I found really helpful. One thing I appreciated about the book was that the author made an attempt to highlight both the positive and negatives of each era in the past 20 centuries. It is common to look at the mistakes of the past and be critical of those people as a whole... but there was often some good that came about as well.

It is a bit of a mystery, but throughout history God keeps using less than perfect people to do His work. Even when we don't have it all figured out, God manages to do His work through His people.

So thank you institutional church for:
  • Bringing the church to the masses. The early church was an underground movement that went against the flow of culture and acceptable beliefs. Thanks to Constantine in 313 for making it a legitimate religion that could be practiced without persecution. First in Rome, and presently in most countries around the world.
  • Valuing education. Many of the fist schools and universities were started by institutional churches, so we must recognize the value organized church has had on our society.
  • Caring for the poor. Historically taking the lead on caring for the poor and needy locally and globally.
  • Being there easy to find. When someone moves to town, or suffers a loss and wants to fellowship with God's children all they need to do is flip through a phone book, or drive around looking for a certain type of building.
  • Being an example of people seeking God. In every 'church' I've visited I've witnessed evidence of people who love God and desire to follow Him.
  • Sunday School. I am thankful for the Bible knowledge children gain from Sunday School programs.
  • Programs for youth. I am thankful that 'churches' give youth a place to hang out and have fun together with the bonus of some good instruction.
  • Being a meeting place. Institutional churches are a great place to meet great people to build relationships with so we can practice encouraging each other, loving each other, accepting one another, teaching each other, praying for each other, serve each other, offering hospitality to one another, not judging each other, ...
  • Having great godly workers. I have no doubt that most 'full time' Christian workers are some of the most dedicated examples of Christ followers around.
Anything else?

So yes, I am a bit torn... and that is why I'm still attending an institutional church. I'm hopeful I can continue to be a part of Christ's Church, play a role in His body, and recognize others in His Church within a 'church' (and outside it).


vincent said...

thanks you for your affirmative witness to the institutional church while at the time welcoming other churches....we all have work to do...don't we?


norma j hill said...

Re "being easy to find" ... just wondering... Why should it be so difficult for people to find us, unless we have a building and phone number? ... And, is it really easy for the unchurched to find the church (the body) when the body is hidden behind walls and doors? Is the church really open and welcoming? How many people walk right on by because there's no one right out there on the street saying hello and befriending them and inviting them in?