The Church is not the massive building with a steeple. Neither are the fancy theatre seats, lights, smoke and screens on the wall some think it is.
Ingrid, some friends and I recently had a long talk about what the Church is and her practices. We talked for hours but there was still a lot unsaid when we stopped.
The consensus, we were not happy with some of the things the Church at large did. One of the things that was easy for us to agree on at the onset of our discussion was that we loved the Church but hated some of the practices people did in the Church.
None of us could stomach instances where non-biblical practices were taken to be what every expression of the Church must be doing. Looking into the Bible, we cannot find some practices, such as the order of how a ‘worship service’ is done now.
Frank Viola and George Barna did a great work researching the source of some Church’s practices in their book, Pagan Christianity. I agree with them in some instances on what the Church needs to be weary of.
At some point after that I did become critical, perhaps too critical of the practices of some local Churches I visited.
I love the Church. My wrestle is when she is made to be what she is not nor should be… That irks me.
The challenge with what I see the Church as in some contexts is that it could be reason enough to distance oneself from her. It is like the trend of young people wanting to shed the label ‘Christian’, because of the connotations it carries in the present culture, for the ‘Christ follower’.
We concluded we could stay away from the Church, as we know it or we could simply model what we see the Bible teach us it should be.
I resigned to not care about practices if they are not in violation of what Scripture teaches the Church should be.
I have preferences as far as practices are concerned. However, I need to be careful that my preferences don’t violate what God wants me to be as part of the Church and what to do in the Church because that is how He touches the world; through me.
There is still the question I’m trying to shake off from the book Pagan Christianity, so what if present day liturgy has its roots in pagan worship? If it is sincerely directed at God, is God not pleased with the worship?
How much do the methods or local expressions of the Church matter? Of course, they cannot, must not contradict everything that is Godly…
The Church is God’s idea not man’s. Some practices are man’s and not God’s.
The wrestle is separating the two. It is staying true to what God wants foremost and not my preferences. I am Jonah.