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Us and Them?

There have been times in my life when I fell into the trap of criticizing people and churches of whom I knew almost nothing about. Now that is not to say that there is never a time to call out something that is wrong or unjust. But it is too easy to generalize.

For over 20 years I have been an advocate of Christians gathering to worship in their homes for several reasons. Many of us have seen the disadvantages of organizations, denominations, and the overwhelming burden that maintaining a building can become. There had been times when as an elder in even a small independent church that the business of the church had distracted me from the real work of being the church, the Body of Christ.

Many books and conversations on the internet have discussed the problems of organised Christianity and the virtues of "Simple Church," "House Church," or as some have called "Organic Church." Personally I have become extremely uncomfortable these days with much of the criticism of other believers, leaders, and groups, mainly because it is of a wrong spirit in my opinion. Much of it is based on the same ignorance upon which I based my previous opinions.

Very early in my Christian life I was taught that the real problem is spelled out in Galatians 5. The old sinful nature is warring against the Holy Spirit that is within us. But if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh or sinful nature. I submit that all corruption that we see in "The Institutional Church," or in House Church for that matter originates in our sinful nature when it has not been subdued.

Is anyone interested in discussing or critiquing this point of view?

Dan B.

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Replies (2)
    • Yes, Dan. I would be interested in discussing this important and urgent matter with you and others. I'll be back from vacation in a few more days.

      Ideas - they do have consequences. As a man thinks in his heart - so he is.

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      • Let's consider the purposes of God. Nothing is more serious than our Lord's prayer in John 17. We pay special attention to the words spoken by a person before his or her death. True?

        One of the main themes is Jesus' desire or "eternal purpose" that his church be unified:

        John 17:10-11  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.

        John 17:22-23  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.

        Could words be plainer? There is but one church. We are either in it or not in it. The only US and THEM in view in this mighty prayer are the SAVED and the LOST.

        Wherever Christians are to be found, all other Christians should be welcome. Regardless of the setting or the location.

        Shame on us for not getting it. Shame on me for not getting it.

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