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.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Protecting Institutions Quote

"That's the problem with institutions isn't it? The institution provides something more important than simply loving each other in the same way we've been loved. Once you build an institution together you have to protect it and its assets to be good stewards. It confuses everything. Even love gets redefined as that which protects the institution and unloving as that which does not. It will turn some of the nicest people in the world into raging maniacs and they never stop to think that all the name-calling and accusations are the opposite of love."
From  So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore, By Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

For the record: I deeply love the church... the people.   But I'm not a huge fan of the institutional church.

If this quote is correct, does my lack of love for the institution put a target on me for some unloving reactions from those who love the institution?

Do I need to love the instution to have healthy relationships with the people?

To be fair, I am finding that many of my brothers and sisters still do accept me.  But I am aware of the potential of being misunderstood.

Do you think this quote is accurate?  I'd love to hear your thoughts?


Steve Martin said...

I think that we ought be aware of who makes up the institution (sinners) and not have any unrealistic expectations therein.

But it is the Lord's Church. He ordained it. He is working His will through it, no matter how much we try and mess it up.

My pastor once said, "Church is God's idea of a good time. Not necessarily ours."

But where else are we to go? Where not going to hear the Word and receive the sacraments at the mall. Or the ballgame.

Frank said...

Steve. Are you sure that the Institution is really the "Lord's Church"?
Everyone always comes up with that statement, but I seriously question it.
When does an Institution cease to be the "Lord's Church".

If all the members of an Institution are born again and following Him, yes we could concur that it belongs to the Lord.
But what if the members are all born again but in bondage to a doctrine that is anathema to God? Is it then really a church of the Lord or just a gathering point of deluded saints?
What if the leader of that church used the bible to teach that Jews were Christ killers and should all be destroyed? Is this still a church of God.
Maybe its a "synagogue of Satan" attended by deluded saints.
Is God still responsible for this and working his will through it?

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve and Frank for your comments. I think some confusions does occur as a result of the way we use the term church. In the New Testament I don't see the term 'church' referring to an institution. I see it referring to people of a shared faith, and whenever they assembled together. The assembling of the people of God is God's idea. I fear turning these gatherings into institutions with hierarchical leadership structures was man's idea.

Frank said...

I agree Jonathan. Most of what we see is just man's idea. People gathering before a man at the front.

It is well known that the Greek word "ekklesia" was used for the rabble gathering in Ephesus, not just the church. However few realise that the Greek Septuagint translation of the bible also uses ekklesia many times for the gathering out unto God of the children of Israel in the wilderness.
This sort of puts paid to the notion that the church was born at Pentecost. God has always had his ekklesia, ie. those who will come aside and be led by God, rather than led by some man's good idea.

Until believers stop demanding a king (or minister) to rule over them, we will continue to see a weak and emasculated church.