“Church” is simply the word that refers to all of the Jesus followers in the world– people who sometimes get it right, and often get it wrong. And, from that perspective, I won’t give up on “The Church”– and here are 5 reasons why:
5. “The Church” is a term that refers to people, and I won’t give up on people.
It’s easy to let go of church when one thinks about church as institution, church as power, or church as oppression, but true Church is just… people. People who, while broken and screw things up, bear the divine image of God and have infinite worth and value to God. Since God himself will never give up on people, and scripture calls us to be imitators of God, I can’t and won’t give up on people either.
4. I am part of “The Church”, and part of why it is often broken, and I don’t want people giving up on me.
Like it or not, if you’ve accepted the invitation to follow Jesus, you are part of his “Church”… the Church. It’s part of the deal. For me, this causes me to realize that I have also been complicit and contributed to many of the Church’s problems, because I’m as screwed up as everyone else in the club. And you know what? I really don’t want anyone to give up on me. I think, by God’s grace, I might have some potential. It would be hypocritical to give up on them when I secretly hope they won’t give up on me.
3. I am unwilling to give up on “The Church’s” mission of spreading the Good News.
The mission of Jesus’ Church is beautiful: spread his Good News that the curse (death) has been overturned, that you and I can be reconciled to God, and that he’s returning to make all things new. As we spread that Good News, we’re invited to be agents of reconciliation– reconciling people to God, reconciling people to each other, and reconciling the earth (environment) to God. That’s the mission– and I still believe in it. It’s beautiful, and I’m not giving up on it– or “The Church” tasked with carrying it out.
2. Jesus promised that even the gates of hell would not defeat “The Church”, and I’m not willing to give up on Jesus.
When Jesus recommissioned Peter, Jesus promised that he was going to build “The Church,” and that it would be on a rock so sturdy that nothing would ever be able to stand in the way of “The Church” ultimately accomplishing the mission. To give up on “The Church” as if it is broken beyond repair or a failure, would be to completely discount the promise Jesus made. Instead, I’ll walk forward having faith that Jesus will help to reform his people into an image that looks more like himself– and that there’s still hope for all of us.
1. Giving up on “The Church” presents an alternative reality that I don’t like: a church of one.
My friend Frank Schaeffer once told me that “there’s only one alternative to being part of a church where you have profound disagreements: join a church of one.” And, Frank was right– to give up on the global Church, to even give up on the local church, is to embrace life as a church of one person– and that’s not a comforting reality in my book. In fact, my hunch is that I’d really have some issues with the one member in that “church” too. Instead, we’re called to be participants in a diverse body… one that includes both tender grandmothers and crazy uncles, but has room for us at the grownup’s table. I’d rather be a part of that family, quirks and all, than to be a family of just me.
This is a portion of a post written by Benjamin L. Corey. To read more go to: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/5-reasons-why-i-wont-give-up-on-the-church/#ixzz3HpDz9OZz