Do You Love the Church?

Church bashing is an easy pastime to engage, isn’t it?

I mean, the professing Church does some stupidity a lot of the time. We document and comment on a lot of it here at the Pen and rightly so.

But it’s a fine line between pointing out the error in the Church in the hope of seeing reformation and revival and actually bashing the Church.

I guess the question of the hour is to define what I mean by bashing the Church. As is often the case in life, illustration is the best method of explanation.

I meet a lot of people who refuse to join a church because of the perceived failures of the Church in areas they deem to be important. I meet even more people who think that the solution is for the Church to…well, be less than the Church. We spend time in worship services when we could be getting on with X activity, we’re doing conferences when we should be working (a post for another time beckons as to why a mass of activity is not always the most needed approach), we’re upset when government sticks its nose in when it should be minding its own manifold problems while we’re not upset about the rot in our own ranks.

Suffice to say it that the Church in this world is not perfect – it has its failings, its weaknesses, its sins. I’d go so far as to say that (particularly in the West), the church has much to repent and even apologise for.

But again – it’s a fine between pointing out the error of the Church and bashing the Church so how on earth do we determine the difference between the two? I think it is wrapped up in answering one simple question: Do you love the Church?

Now at this point, I can hear the retorts already, “Of course I love the Church – that’s why I call it to repent!” You might well call them to repent but that’s not what I asked. Do. You. Love. The. Church?

Jesus does:

Ephesians 5:25-30

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,30 since we are members of His body.

Look at the depth of love Jesus had (and has) for His bride, the Church – loves her, gave Himself for her, desires her holiness, cleanses her.

Look at the analogy Paul deploys in verses 29-30 – it’s a strange person who hates his own body because it is human nature to love and protect one’s body. Likewise, it is deeply disturbing to see one who says love Christ, yet hates His body, His bride.

So I ask my question du jour once again – do you love the Church?

Do you treasure Her times of worship – the times when the Bride comes to fellowship and share communion with Christ?? Do you love the folks who comprise the church? Defend her when she comes under attack? Take the time to fellowship with other members of this beautiful bride?

Or are we so self-absorbed with our own little causes that if they don’t line up with us, we’d rather throw our brothers and sisters under the bus?

 

Friend, Jesus loves the Church, and though I’m not a married man, I know enough married men to know that even the most imperfect of husbands will move heaven and earth to defend their wives. Do you think Jesus will do less…as the Perfect Husband?

 

[Contributed by Kofi Adu-Boahen]

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