I Refuse to Accept the Current State of the Church by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown
I refuse to accept that the Church as we know it in America and the West is the very best the Church will ever be. I refuse to accept that the anemic, divided, often powerless version of the Church that we are so accustomed to seeing here is the only version we will ever see in this world.
Not if the Bible is true. Not if Jesus is Lord. Not if the Holy Spirit has been poured out. Not if God’s promises are real.
To the contrary, because the Bible is true. And because Jesus is Lord. And because the Holy Spirit has been poured out. And because God’s promises are real. We will see a glorious Church, walking in grace and victory and purity and power. We will see a bride fit for her Groom. We will see the Messianic community that He Himself is building. And the very gates of Hades will not overcome that Church.
That is God’s vision and that is God’s promise, because of which I will not accept the status quo of “Church as usual” today. I cannot accept it. And neither should you.
It is an insult to the blood of Jesus and a slur on the power of God, and we should not accept it for a moment as a reflection of the best that the Father has to offer to this world. Not a chance.
That version of the Church will not change the world. Or inspire sacrifice and dedication. Or transform sinners into saints. Or set captives free. Or bring glory to God. It will only bring reproach and breed compromise. That version of the Church is like the salt which has lost its saltiness. No wonder the world tramples it under foot.
But the Church that Jesus is building will ultimately be “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27). This is our destiny, our ultimate calling. This is how we will look when we reach our final destination. And that’s why we should work towards this and believe for this every day of our lives.
Even if that speaks of our eternal state once we are out of this fallen world, it is the direction in which we must be going. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
He continued, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
This is supposed to have in this world, in this age. Is the Lord unable to do it?
Over one century ago, Catherine Booth (1829-1890), the fiery co-founder of the Salvation Army, knew that there was something very wrong with Church as usual. (For the record, the Salvation Army in its earlier history was much different than it is today.) She refused to accept the status quo, mincing no words in the process.