Of the Church.
Chapter 26, Paragraph 3.
“The purest Churches under heaven are subject to mixture, and error;…”
1 Corinthians 5
There is no perfect church.
We all know that, but how often do we let our hearts get infatuated with other churches out there? Watching an online service, we think, “Their service/preaching/music is so awesome, I would LOVE to be a part of their church!” Or we see people fall away in our congregation, get discouraged, and look at another church where everyone is so friendly and nice, they must all be Christians. The grass is always greener in the church we don’t belong to!
Some churches themselves, in their efforts to promote themselves, encourage the misnomer that a perfect church is out there. Appealing to our consumer tendencies, they showcase all the pretty people with no problems as representative of their congregation, with the implication that you, too, can be pretty with no problems if you attend. Or they go to the other extreme – touting themselves as relevant and authentic, so much so that their doctrine is lacking because, hey, how can broken people be certain about anything?
Often we turn to the New Testament church as the ultimate “dream church”. That’s what we want to be a part of: having one mind, growing in number, sharing in common, and praising God daily. What many of us fail to remember is that even the early church was subject to mixture and error. Simon the sorcerer? Ananias and Sapphira? To circumcise or not to circumcise? Gnosticism? There were false converts and error creeping into the church back then as well.
It is good to long for our churches to be pure and holy, and we should strive to make them so. The membership should consist of Christians striving for holiness, and the church should align with what God has revealed and commanded in His word. But while the church can be a respite from the things of this world, it is not paradise on earth. There are times when deceivers will infiltrate a church. A church can be in error in its doctrine and practice. Only in glory will we know fully and be perfect.
Questions to Consider
- What expectations ought you to have for your church? Are your current expectations realistic?