Indictment Against the Church: What People Are Saying
I was listening to a gospel song on the radio some time ago with these words in the first stanza:
I’m all churched out, hurt and abused.
This song, “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann, is a beautiful statement of worship, praise and reaching for the God of mercy – the King of whom she sings. And while it is a worthwhile worship song, I take issue with the statement above. It is the indictment of the church voiced by many – artists and Christians alike. “I’m all churched out,” “Enough of churchism,” and so on.
You may say: It’s true, church people, so-called Christians, talk like they so close to the Lord and they hypocrites. They ain’t real. The preachers ain’t real. All they want is money. Look at Bishop Long. Look at Creflo. Look at (on and on and on, etc., etc. etc.).
I’ll grant you this fact: Church people can be some of the most topsy turvy folks you’ve ever met and that you will ever meet. And this is the reason why: We are just people. We don’t have super-human powers. We have the same tendencies and issues that anyone else has.
Then you may say, Well what do I need to join the church for? If they have problems like me, what good does going to church do me?
The truthful answer to that question is: None. Going to a church building once or twice a week does no one any good as long as we are focusing on what’s wrong in the local assembly, or what the media said someone professing to be a Christian did wrong. It does us no good when a brother or a sister or a leader abuses our trust or inflicts mental, emotional, spiritual or (God forbid) physical harm on us or those we love, and we become bitter and angry as a result of it. You might as well go fishing on Sunday morning if that’s all the church offers.
But wait. That’s just part of what happens in the church. It’s the part that gets the most press because anger and bitterness tends to multiply themselves. When you focus on all that is wrong in the church (and there is plenty), you will always be messed up. You will feel there is no hope.
It’s time to change and reposition your focus.
The church, according to the scripture- ecclesia or called out ones – was ordained by God as the vehicle through which man and God could have 1) reconciliation and then 2) relationship through Jesus Christ. God ordained the church through the sacrificial offering of Christ (his death, burial and resurrection) to be his agent on earth to bring people into reconciliation with him. This reconciliation with God through Christ comes by our participation in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-9), and we take part in it through repentance of our sins, baptism in Jesus name for the remission (removing) of our sins, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-4, 38). This is what makes us a member of God’s church.
But wait. There’s more. Remember, the purpose of God’s church is reconciliation and relationship with him. As people come to God and grow in their walk with God, they should grow in closeness (relationship) that produces likeness to the Lord Christ. He was our earthly example of our heavenly Father. Every day is an opportunity to become more like him and love him even more. So that, when we are hurt or offended, we do what Christ did: Forgive. Forgiveness is the cold water thrown in our faces that snatches us out of the spiritual sleep induced by anger and bitterness. And, when we hear something negative about a brother near or far, we do what Christ said: Refrain from judging (Matthew 7:1-5 ). When we accuse, we become much less like Christ and much more like the devil.
Paul called the church Christ’s body (I Corinthians 12). He also showed us that the church is Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5). Since Christ is married to the church, we belong to him. If he is the head and we are the body, we are a part of him. Paul also informs us that when the Lord returns, he’s coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Ephesians 5:27). There is no separation between Christ and his church. The old cliché stands true: he loves us, warts and all. And while that statement may make us feel warm and fuzzy all over, we must also be warned that his intention is to cut away the warts and sanctify us completely.
The beauty of the true church, where people are genuinely seeking God and not self-fulfillment, is that God and heaven become active in the midst of our church services, homelife and in the work he has given us to do. We may get burned out. But we don’t get churched out. The church is meant to be a fueling station. It’s the place to go and get healed, not abused. God works through his Bride, the church, to make us into what he wants us to be. And for most of us, it’s a slow work. But he is patient and our only hope.
My point is: Don’t give up on God’s church. Find one that preaches truth and become a part of Christ’s body, the Bride.
About: Jane Ward has been involved in ministry for 30 years. Most recently she became director at a pregnancy resource center. Jane is an author, publisher, teacher, whose passion is to connect with young women in order to share Jesus Christ with them and empower them to the abundant life Christ has made available for them. "Abundant life starts within through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It manifests itself outwardly through godly character."Back to Blog | Add to Buddy List