I am sitting with a book called 'The Like Jesus but Not the Church' in front of me, and I have skimmed just a few paragraphs in different chapters. Honestly I have no intention of giving this book more that 45 minutes of my time, but there is a reason for posting this.
This notion that people love Jesus but not the Church is an impossiblity that the emerging church has been trying to ram down our throats for awhile now. Listen I understand that the church has failed in many ways, and that I as a part of the church have even contributed to that failure. Moreover not all who claim to be a part of the Church are truly regenerate and actually a part of it. They are part by association only. Nonetheless be very careful before you parrot some emergent in saying that you like Jesus but not the Church. If you believe in Christ, you love the Church... period. I recognize that this book is maybe a slight defense of the church which is a good thing, and it is an assement of our failures which is OK also, but the premise that someone can like Jesus and not the Church only proves that they do not know Jesus. (it should also be noted that the author is saying that unbelievers like Jesus not the Church, he is not saying that he personally does not like the church... at least he does not say that directly in what I have read... At the same time he does seem sympathetic to the world's disdain for the church.)
If you shower praise upon me for an hour, about how I am a good husband, and father, and youth leader, blah blah blah ad nauseium, but somewhere in that praising you say something like this "jay it is amazing what you do at home, espcially considering how difficult your wife is and how troublesome she can be to you" and then you continue to praise me for another hour. The only thing I will take away from that two hours of praise is the simple fact that you do not like my wife! I would say depart from me... That is my wife you are talking about... I love her more than you could know, and I do not care a lick what you think of me if you are going to talk bad about her.
Of course the obvious parallel is that the Church is the bride of Christ, and He loves her more than you know regardless of her short comings, and when you claim to like Christ but not the Church you are insulting Christ directly.
So then you go on and say, "it is not that I do not like the Church, i just don't like their stuffy style, reponsive readings, organ music, etc..." That is like coming into my house and criticizing the way my wife decorated, and the way she cooks, the way she sings, and the way she does everything. Be careful being that critical of my wife. It's like saying, I like your wife I just cannot stand everything about her. If you walk into a church building that has many believers within doing various works for the Lord, do not even dare consider being critical towards them because you know not the one whom you offend by your criticism.
Our generation of 20s and 30s (I am 28) does a continual disservice to the men and women who went before us, and in our little 'emergent' conversations we attempt to 'deconstruct' all the work of the bride of Christ. If you love Jesus, get in the church with other believers, learn the reasons that things are the way they are, stop dissing the bride which you proclaim to be a part of. Yes there are changes that need made, and you may very well be called to be the one to make those changes. Yes, sometimes tradition and ritual have mired our vision of Christ our husband, yes we do somethings that are utter vanity and we must strive to change that and be a more pleasing bride to Christ. At the same time realize that Christ's love for His church is unconditional, and when you disrepect her for not meeting the conditions, you disprect the Lord who is one with her.
I know this book is an attempt to show what unbelievers think about the church, but the same attitude exists among 20-30s within the church and our disrespect as a generation for the bride of Christ is absolutely pathetic and abhorrent.
Well, I have not ranted for awhile so there it is. Back to the Gospel Series tomorrow, and I probably won't do this again for some time, but just wanted to get that off of my chest.