A Very Good Quote and a Very Bad Quote

Just a quick post before bed tonight, so I can keep you readers enthralled....

First, the good quote. It was printed in the bulletin in church this morning, and it's from Jonathan Edwards.

"If you are selfish, and make yourself and your own private interests your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interests as well as you can. But if you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ's, and the things of your fellow-beings, then God will make your interest and happiness His own charge, and He is infinitely more able to provide for and promote it than you are." Way to tell it like it is.

And the bad quote, which was a sticker on the rear window of a van I saw on my drive home from church:

"God is our church."

I didn't see the *non*church or organization that created the sticker, as the van was several lanes to my right, and therefore some of my friends (not to name names, but, like, Jessica) will be happy that I won't get the opportunity to personally lambast them for their idiocy. But this statement displays such profound ignorance and lack of proper theological understanding that I was forced to comment on it. I assume that the statement is intended as one of those anti-denominational anti-establishment anti-tradition-for-the-sake-of-tradition things, which is meant to make people think "Wow! That's so profound! I wish I was that spiritual, that I wouldn't need any of the traditions of an institutionalized church to connect with God." But this is so obviously ludicrous that it troubles me (though it doesn't surprise me) that any true Christian would display this sticker proudly. There is a (very) small grain of truth in it, I suppose, but I'm getting tired of people who say that they're a Christian, and it's just them and Jesus, and they don't need the church. Scripture clearly contradicts this, both implicitly and explicitly by teaching and by example, throughout its entirety. And as for the whole anti-denomination thing, I've said this many times before, that while it is sad that so many divisions have come from trivial and unimportant things and the Church (with a capital "C") needs to unite and work together, there are issues and there is truth that is worth dividing over. Derek Webb (you knew I'd bring him into this, didn't you), in one of his songs, confesses "I repent, I repent / of trading truth for false unity." Compromising truth and valid conviction in order to achieve some sort of vague doctrinal "unity" is, quite simply, wrong. Again, just to clarify, there are most definitely issues which are not worth dividing over which have been, and there is an absolute necessity for the members of the Body of Christ to put aside their differences (not, as I've said, give them up) at times to work for the greater good of the Kingdom. But to say that "God is our church" unnecessarily and oversimply implies that such differences are always wrong and counterproductive. Okay, maybe it doesn't imply that directly, but from my own personal experience, many of the people who have left what they style the "institutionalized church" have often done so for that reason. Plus, it makes some of the metaphors Scripture uses for the Church rather difficult. Wait, Christ marries, uh, Himself? His Bride is really just Him? And a head by itself isn't much good without a body....

::steps off soapbox::

Wait a second, when did I get up there?


Idhrendur said...

And, I agree more or less.

And I do think you, I, and the rest of our friends pretty much demonstrate how unity without sacrifice of truth works.

Mike Morabito said...

AJ- this is great. If someone is a believer then they need a church to grow, the christian life is lived out in community.

Btw, I love how you displayed how the metaphors of Christ and the church would become really awkward if God is my church. haha

-mike morabito