Around ten years ago Dan Kimball wrote a book titled “They Like Jesus But Not The Church.” He made some good points about the disconnect between what the church is and the public’s perception of what they think it should be. As I see it, the reason for the disconnect is people are flawed.
People are flawed
The church is made up of people who are flawed. I know because I am one of them. Each of us in the church is on a spiritual journey and are at different levels of maturity in Christ making the church an imperfect work in progress. We make mistakes while learning to do better.
Then there are those wolves in sheep’s clothing who have committed atrocities and brought dishonor on the name of Christ and the work of the church. Things have been done that are inexcusable and received the just condemnation of a watching public. But these are the exception and not the rule.
But the same is true of the public’s perspective of the church; it’s flawed. Take the title of Kimball’s book, “They Like Jesus But Not The Church.” If one claims to like Jesus you would think they would like what Jesus likes and follow His example.
It was Jesus who introduced the idea of the church
This may surprise some, but Jesus Himself introduced the idea of “church”. He told Peter and the other eleven, “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church,” Matthew 16:18. This is the first mention of the church in Scripture.
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul exhorted, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25. Jesus founded the church, loved the church and ultimately died to establish the church. That should at least rate a “like and share” if you like Jesus.
Those who would be the first to misquote Jesus saying, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” are the first to judge the church and say things about it that in most instances they know nothing about. After all, they are admittedly on the outside looking in.
Organized religion v. disorganized religion
Then there are those who say they dislike organized religion. What does that even mean? I don’t watch a lot of sports, but when I do I like watching organized sports. Does it mean they would prefer disorganized religion, or some level of disorganization they would be comfortable with?
Organized religion was corrupt and needed to make some changes in Jesus’ day. Hypocrisy was rife from the leadership down. But it did not stop Jesus practicing what He preached and engaging those who were leading God’s people astray.
“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath,” Luke 4:16. It seems Jesus made it His practice to be in His place of worship on His day of worship.
How do you like Him now?