Sunday, January 13, 2008

Joining the not perfect church

David Field writes about being an infant-baptist in the other kind of baptit church: If the sovereign God is cheerfully taking his time advancing the empire of his Son and is doing so while (and by) showing remarkable grace to his muddle-headed and immature children then it would be silly if some of those muddle-headed and immature children were marked by untrusting hurry or ungracious judgmentalism in their relations with others.

I found that very refreshing as we continue to try and settle into life at our new church here in Exeter. (Trying to settle being my impatient way of talking about the obvious that relationships take time to build.) It's really easy to spot things that might not be the way we'd want them, or aren't how our previous church in Reading did things. I'm aware that I have the potential to make it's an absolute nightmare for my pastor to lead me rather than a joy. My sinfulness would love to grumble and pick at things and bite and devour. But, but... church is too important to be torn apart by the remnants of my sin and it's apparent diagnoses of problems and issues (which are prone to being terribly erroneous). To death with my sin.

Bonhoeffer is right - church only works on the basis that we're all forgiven because of the cross of Christ. It's the blood that reconciles me to God to his people (and his world)- the Eden-style life that we're made for. We've found the best church we think we can - one that loves the gospel and loves the word. Does it do everything perfectly? No. But then I don't even actually know what doing church perfectly means (and it's not like the NT gives us a whole lot of detail on what doing church perfectly means either). I'm in the church. I love the church. And I'm sticking with the church. No such thing as church-less Christians, that'd be Christ-less Christianity which is (appropriately) I-anity...

Daniel Newman on church outside the BIG churches is worth a read too.

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