A few weeks ago, I highlighted a WSJ article from an author proposing that the church would be better off without Jesus. He argued that everyone needs the benefits/ community of the church, but not the “God part”. He suggested that church could then be for everyone while avoiding the messy parts of faith.
In many ways, this is like saying that the wonderful benefits of my marriage like the conversation, companionship, marriage bed, lovely children and even the tax breaks would be nice to have particularly if those benefits didn’t include my wife. - Obviously, I don’t feel this way… I love you Charity ;).
This week, an article in Newsweek suggested the flip-side of that argument. The author, Andrew Sullivan, suggested that Christianity is in crises and needs to ditch the church in order to properly follow Jesus. According to the author, Jesus is great, but the church is missing the point of the Gospel. Essentially, the article prompts individual Christians to seek out Jesus without dealing with the “messiness” of the church.
While I can certainly agree that the church at large is flawed, Mr. Sullivan fails to realize that this messy, dirty, beat up, flawed thing… the church… is precisely what Jesus called His bride…His bride… His bride… that he would build and the gates of Hell would not withstand it. The relationship is a marriage according to Jesus, and those are some strong words.
Today, it is popular to bash the church at large. People like their idea of Jesus but not being part of a church. Many people have walked away from the church while claiming to still follow Christ. It is easy to see and scoff at the scandals and the misguided political maneuvering of much of the church. We are an easy target.
But, in the end… if we mock the church, we must remember whose wife we are talking about. Jesus knew what He was doing when He built the church. He knew. He knows, and yet, He still chose us. He chose us, and He will not divorce Himself from the church, so why should we?
(If you want to read a solid response to the Newsweek article. Check out the Gospel Coalition’s response.)