Thursday, April 7, 2011
Do we need church?
In both instances Jesus refuses to answer the question. Instead Jesus gives a completely different answer that breaks outside the boundaries those very questions made. When asked if the woman should be stoned Jesus answered outside the boundaries of the question of law and obedience and gave an answer that was centered on grace and mercy. When Jesus was asked about the taxes Jesus answered outside the boundaries of honor and gave an answer that was centered on ownership.
When we ask if church is necessary we are basically asking a law based question about salvation. If we are honest we are simply trying to discover the bare minimum we have to do on order to be saved. A satisfying answer can never to be given to such a question because it is the wrong question with wrong motives.
It is the wrong question because we mix love and grace with law and punishment. The question is also wrong because of this word “saved.” This word “saved” has too often limited our understanding of what God is doing. The calling of Jesus was not simply to be saved, but to be restored, made new. This is why Jesus says “follow me.” If Peter’s response to Jesus’ call to follow him was “I have faith in you to be saved, but I will not follow” Peter would have missed out on the restoring life Jesus was offering. Many of us think we can “believe” in Jesus and stay put. Jesus bids us to follow so that we may be saved, and more, that we are made new. The pursuit of our life is not to be “saved.” The pursuit of our life must be to follow Jesus so that he can do the saving and the restoring.
The question may be better asked “Do I need to go to church to follow Jesus to experience restoration?”
That question is still not perfect and needs more editing, but we are closer to the truth. What do you think? If you are following Jesus than do you need church to be restored? And what else do we need to change to ask a more theological accurate question?