I'm realizing what is causing a great divide among and within all churches. It's taken me a bit; but I believe something very simple has developed over the centuries which is going unnoticed because its damage has been so acceptable. Believers are under threat when we make the church King rather than Christ.
All would agree yet all do not practice; I have not practiced. Jesus is a tough name to say...for the church people....have you noticed? Listen in on the speech of your congregation; especially your leaders. Is the church discussed or Jesus? Still....this can seem rather to be tedium except for its tremendous cost.
Jesus will lead us to be his church. But churches will not necessarily lead us to Jesus. He said as much in John 5:39-40. It is that text that declares the faithful-efforted would spend their time in the Word while failing to come to know him.
Listen to us talk. Do we try to lead people to Jesus...or to the church? Do we talk about being members of Christ or of the church? Do we make grand effort to urge neighbors to know the grace of Jesus or the pattern of the church? Are we wishing to convert them to Jesus....or the church of Christ?
I believe the Baptists, the Catholics, and the other denominations have the same flaw as we.....if they try to lead people to their church rather than their Savior. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; but if not careful we will begin to believe and behave as if our set of rituals and rigors are precisely what every individual needs to know before they die.
They must know Jesus before they die. They must confess Jesus; not the true church before they die. They must be baptized in to Christ; not into the true church before they die. They will be thrilled over their discovery of abundant life when Jesus is the master. If church rule is the actual goal then we have converted our communities to a body without a head.
No Jesus? No life....now or later.