In his book A Second Resurrection Bill Easum wrote, ‘After the legalization of Christianity in 362 A.D., Christians slowly began to follow the institutionalized church rather than Jesus.’ First Christianity is embraced by the world and becomes legal and then 50-100 years after the legalization of Christianity they came up with creeds. One creed that goes way back that we still say today called the Apostle’s Creed says, “I believe in the… (wait for it… wait for it…) holy catholic (meaning universal) CHURCH.” I never thought about it until this morning that we confess that we believe in the church.
I don’t know if I believe in the church as we have made it today. I certainly believe in the church that Jesus set up, but the church we have today in America doesn’t look like the one I read about in Acts. The church has gone from the initial radical ragtag misfits willing to follow Jesus at any cost to a soft, safe, and self-centered sanctuary of hypocrites, many of whom see their job as the ones to protect and control the church. And before you get upset with me — let me confess that as a pastor, I am one of the chief hypocrites.
The early church didn’t worry about protecting anything. Their primary concern was to convince others to obediently follow Jesus — and not just a select group, but anyone and everyone who was willing to take up their cross and follow. And today it means that if the sanctuary or fellowship hall needs some extra cleaning because of the dirty feet and kool-aid spilled by those who know no better, then glory to God – I believe that’s the church Jesus wants and established. I would believe in a church like that.
I agree with you, Scott. We also should not be a church of braggarts. Praising and bragging are two different things. The “I win and you lose” mentality has no place in church. We should all leave feeling like winners.
Amen, for one thing we depend on ourselves and others to much, and forget to lean on our faith.