Monday, January 26, 2009

Invisible church

"It's time we stopped counting church involvement as the mark of true faith. And while a Christless Churchianity is running rampant across this nation, there is still good news. Jesus is building His invisible Church and it is not falling apart."

10 Comments:

Blogger nAncY said...

yep, it is hard to see a spirit or a soul, however many of them are still in beings that are alive and breathing. so the work that is done by the HOly Spirit can somtimes be seen in the fruit of that work. and there are records of that work with souls that are now not with us in body.

i do not want to draw any lines between believers. and i try not to draw lines between believers and non believers. i think that is God's domain to draw lines.

the command... Love God and Love my neighbo... or others.

that takes all of me to focus on Jesus to even think about doing that. i would not even be able to move or speak if i were to try and live up to this myself. but in this command i understand my place.

and that is to look to Jesus and to trust fully in God and that the Holy Spirit is working in me.

so many things turn our heads from this many times each day. we forget our place. we forget to share the Love of God or accept it.

1:47 PM, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Byron Harvey said...

Basing an argument on a straw man almost always leads to bad conclusions. Though I'm sure it's happened, I doubt many folks truly count "church involvement as the mark of true faith". I am no fan of a Christless Churchianity, of course, and there's sure a lot of that, but to the degree Ms. Gaines' words might be taken to deny the absolutely essential nature of church involvement to the life of the believer, her words ought to be disregarded. Jesus is building His invisible Church, no doubt; it's right there, wheat amidst the tares, involved in the visible body of Christ on a committed basis.

I'm probably overreacting, because I'm not sure she means to denigrate the importance of church involvement, but in this silly age in which we live, in which certain professing Christians seem to think they're smarter than multiplied millennia of Christians who expressed their faith in the context of committed involvement in the church, it cannot be stressed enough that to love Jesus is to love His church--warts and all.

10:01 AM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Mr. Harvey: I share your concern about those who minimize the absolute necessity of being integrally connected to the body of Christ. It seems to be a uniquely and quintessentially modern concept that salvation is simply an individual transaction between sinner and Savior--a transaction leaving little or no place for the church. In fact, Jesus gave his life for his bride, the church, and our membership in Christ is essentially connected to our membership in his body. Any doctrine that denies the essential function of the church in salvation is not only bad doctrine; it's probably heresy.

With that said, I can confidently say that in five years of reading Vicki's blog I've never gotten a sense that she would overlook the place of the church in abiding in Christ. I won't speak for her, but I won't accuse her of bad doctrine, either.

I hardly know how to reply to your sentiments that few Christians would equate church involvement with true faith. Apparently you have not run across such a mode of thinking. For that I praise God-- that the error Vicki describes and which I've encountered for years isn't the norm. I can tell you quite confidently, though, that many Christians simply equate attendance and activity as direct indicators of spirituality.

What gives that particular error its tenacity is that it is partially true. Attendance and activity are at least indirectly indicative of spiritual strength, but usually only in the negative: those who do not associate with the church, at least willingly, are not abiding in Christ.

You are spot-on that we live in a silly age that neglects the collected wisdom of the millennia. I'm glad to find another Christian trying to see through the tyranny of present-day thinking and face the truth. Thanks for commenting. Please return often and comment freely.

Peace.

12:52 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Nancy,

I agree with your aversion to drawing lines among believers. It's the most natural practice in the world--and one of the most deadly to Christian fellowship.

Thanks for your reminder of our need to look to Jesus and trust in the Lord and his Spirit working in us.

Peace.

12:56 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Byron Harvey said...

Yeah, maybe I overspoke regarding the basic comment; I know of a lot of folks who don't think that church attendance is the sum total of commitment to Christ, but I guess that there are more who do than I am willing to concede. It's just so frustrating, on both sides: on the one hand, whomever DOES believe that attendance=commitment are dead-wrong, but those on the other side--and I'm glad Victoria isn't among them--who suggest that the church is superfluous are just so dead-wrong as well.

Been reading your blog for a couple years at least, and I've probably commented once or twice; keep up the good work! I'm from Roanoke, so you weren't far from there for awhile, I noticed.

2:52 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger nAncY said...

i think with any discussion about church i can easily get confused it the person speaking does not define how they are using the word church in their discussion.

i am very wary of joining a denomination because i do not want to sign my name to some of the silly stuff that the denominations put into their silly rules that do not seem to have anything to do with being a member of the church that Jesus is the head of.

i am at a point that instead of surrender, i made my own peace treaty. i sometimes go to a church where for a couple of years i went to their women's bible study that is open to all. it is a friends/quaker church, i find this group to be fairly open to listening to others that are not actually signed members...also my daughter is friends with the pastor's daughter since kindergarden so we have that connection. after going there for that ammount of time it feels familiar. though since my husband does not go and i am not attending the study this year, i find myself going less.

it leaves me unable to explain why one should go, but, i find that after the time that i have gone i have become more accepting of what
this strange thing called church is not and what it is. maybe i mean what i hoped it would be, probably from my past experience growing up as a child in a small church in a small town in the midwest, and the next experience of being a freak for a couple of years while in college...which was the most wonderful spiritual experience...but, i did not stay with it long enough for maturity. so anyway, once i could put many of my desires and expectations aside and then deal with more of a worldly reality of what church was i am now at the place of adding another dimension to my perspective...the spiritual perspective. i can almost just walk into any gathering, shake some hands, settle down and just let God do the talking through and in spite of the program and all of us that are there doing whatever it is we do. if God wants for us to get together...i am sure He has a good reason...and i really do not need to know what that is, and i do not need to worry if any of it is perfect or silly or with or with out kids, or gays, or old peaple or deed doers, or whatever. everyone comes, God likes it and that is enough for me.

i do not have to agree with everything that is being said, or where the money goes, or how the preacher looks, i don,t care, it is not my business, unless God tells me it is my business. until then, sometimes i will make it to church and take my one believing daughter and make the best of what it is and just Love each other.

i am not quite sure what i just said....i am kind of babbling on in type. and this keyboard on this laptop is really really small...my fingers hardly fit on the keys they are so close together...

it is a mystery, this thing called chruch...a Spirit led body ...and like byron said...the kingdom is like wheat growing with weeds....i just hope i am not a weed and i am growing well for the harvest.

i think that no matter what one calls their church that one must always be looking to Jesus.

some one said that religion and politics do not mix...but, from what i can see religion is like politics to some.

8:02 PM, January 27, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Byron, and I hope things are going well for you in the Valley. Peace.

10:32 AM, January 28, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Nancy, I'm glad to hear about your aversion to denominational silliness. A similar aversion, in fact, is behind the so-called Restoration Movement in the heritage of Churches of Christ in the US. Churches of Christ (in theory, at least) disavow all denominational creeds and peculiar doctrines. Congregations have no denominational authority, which means each congregation is self-governing.

In practice, that means some congregations more or less live up to the call for pure, undenominational Christianity, while some clearly do not. If you could find a good, biblical Church of Christ in your area, you would surely be blessed.

I realize you didn't leave your comments to get a lesson from me, but I did want to share these sentiments with you. Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts, blessings and struggles here.

10:37 AM, January 28, 2009  
Blogger nAncY said...

actually, i am happy to have you respond in any way you see fit.

i will look into it.

1:42 PM, January 28, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Solid. I'd be interested in knowing how it goes. Peace.

4:07 PM, January 29, 2009  

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