When I was in Bible College I spent 4 years searching for the ‘perfect church’. Every Church I went into just didn’t meet my expectations. I was looking for a close group of Christians like I was involved with during my years with Christian Student Fellowship in Springfield, IL.
I couldn’t find what I had. I was very disallusioned with the Church at this time. Most of my professors taught that we should be focusing on being the ‘new testament church’. This always sounded nice. I wanted to be involved with a ‘new testament church’ but I just couldn’t find one.
Then it hit me. And it seems so obvious. Most of the New Testament is Paul writing to Churches that did not have it together. They were far from perfect. Corinth got drunk with communion wine and slept with temple prostitutes because they did not understand that grace did not give them the freedom to go on sinning. Are we looking for the ‘new testament church’ today? I certainly hope we are not looking for congregations that are still struggling with the same issues of 2,000 years ago.
This is when I understood that the Church is simply Christians who are gathered together. Since as Christians we are not perfect, how can I expect the Church today to be perfect? I can’t. I can of course be a help to the Church to promote truth and fix wrongs that occur. But my seeking for the ‘perfect church’ was purely selfish and was never successful.
We need to embrace the Church even when it is filthy and unclean. As followers of Jesus Christ we are not to run from the Church or be against the Church in any way, but we are to aid the Church, serve the Church and keep her Holy for our Lord. When the Church gets dirty we need to clean it up, not put our hands up in frustration.
The scripture we read that brought on this discussion was:
This verse talks about those who cause division being ungodly and calls us to be merciful to those who doubt, and focus on saving others from an eternity in flame. All in the context of drawing ourselves closer to God, focusing on serving others. Obviously this scripture does not go into what our discussion was, but this is where God led our discussion.