October 06, 2015

Non-Traditional Church

A notice in the newspaper for a house church reads, “We have left the institutional church and are meeting as simple believers in Jesus Christ.” Recently at an assembly of about 50 I heard, “We have left the traditional church; we are not the traditional church.” So what does that mean? These folks have elders and a board, they gave announcements, had a worship service of praise songs and hymns, presented a message by an ordained minister, served communion, offered multiple prayers, and enjoyed a fellowship meal following the service. The only thing untraditional about the gathering was the location and setting. Too bad the book of Revelation doesn’t contain a letter to an eight church, “To the angel of the church of the Non-Traditional…”

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----There is a lot to criticize and dislike in every church, even in the best of them. Nothing is completely good or completely bad in this world. There’s been more than one occasion Char and I have discussed the more disgusting things about the church we attend. We always conclude that wherever we went to church there would be as many other things just as disgusting. For although Christ is the head of the church, people are the body. And in as much as the Holy Spirit does not soak into all an individual’s behaviors and connect all the meanings of the scripture God meant into the individual’s mind and emotions, or lead him into doing everything God desires as He desires it when He desires it, the church in general somewhat has a collective case of cerebral-palsy going on between its human body and its divine head. There is no church anywhere for anyone to go to which is completely right by the Lord’s standards of right. But that doesn’t mean church is dead; it just means it is real.
-----That lets me off the hook for finding “the church for me”. It puts me on the hook for being the disciple for the church I am at. I once told Char kind of out of the blue, “The most important thing to know at any moment in time is the situation you are in.” Your situation has a relevant proximity. That means people, things, ideas, and such close enough to effect me, or for me to effect them, are in my proximity, which puts them in my situation, which means I have obligation to them, which means I must know them to know what love they need. We are so used to comfort and safety, especially in this little valley sheltered from severe weather, marauding gangs chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon”, and such. We forget the real dangers always in our proximity -souls teetering on the brink of destruction, little accidents and dingers constantly chipping at our mental foundations, and all the other mundane happenstances pelting our lives. It is important to know what they are and what they need from God’s idea of love.
-----For if we are ministers of love we must dispense love properly or be eaten by happenstances. Our situations are never perfect. That’s why they need love. Church is just another situation, though it is a special one. We must stop thinking of it as something either perfect or useless, either good or bad. Because of the messed up neurology between its physical body of people and its spiritual head of Jesus Christ, what it does, how it does it, why it does it, etc. is as messed up as it is gloriously praiseworthy. It is for each member of the body to go into it serving it as much as being served by it, mixing into it his needs and bringing to it his supplies. But that would be totally good. So it won’t totally be; church is so shaped by many centuries of cultural overlay. But that’s not totally bad, because so is the individual. The two are made for each other. So they should always shape each other somewhat more. The more the individual as well as the church he attends understands they are both good and bad, the better the Lord can move in the situation as He needs.
-----“…that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” I think maybe this passage helps drive church leaders to think their church must be perfect. How could anything less than perfect show God’s wisdom to His angels? But they forget God works through our weakness, not so much because He wants to, maybe, but more because that’s all He gets from us. Yet He pulls advantage from our failures. That in fact is His wisdom showing through the church: His grace shed upon her and the souls flowing into heaven regardless of her bad. And that is good.

Love you all,
Steve Corey