Verse for the day

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Church and the People

Maybe it is time that I voice some thoughts that have been floating in my mind for a while now. Whilst Steven and Jenny's posts about same sex relationships and Eclessia de Lange's disciplinary hearing were the triggers for this post , it is not about Eclessia or the church and same sex relationships that I want to comment. Well , not directly anyway.

As I stated on my facebook status earlier today I have often wondered who made the church to be judge , jury and executioner ? Why is it that the church (I am speaking about the broader church and not a local congregation) thinks that it is it's job to judge and condemn people. Why is it that the church thinks that it is it's job to decide what is right and wrong and is acceptable for a child of God to do or not ?

In my surfing of the web and the blogs I have come across many people who are Christians. With similar values as myself. People who have good solid relationships with God. But who do not go to church. The churches are leaking members like a sieve . Because instead of being a place where grace and mercy is revealed and preached to all, the church has set itself up as watch dog and policeman over its members.

Why is it that in so many cases the church weighs up 'grace' against 'law' ? Why is grace and law posed as polar opposites ? I thought that God's grace , through Jesus Christ has come to fulfill the law. Not to stand against it.
Matthew 12:7 says :"7If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent."
 I wonder if the church realizes that more and more people are getting disillusioned with the church and leaving.  Please note: They are getting disillusioned with the church - not God.

Are we as a church one day going to stand guilty before God because we set up rules and regulations for people to follow instead of setting examples of how to live as Christians in a sinful world ? Are we going to stand guilty because we made people jump through all kinds off hoops before we allowed them into God's grace ?

Are we going to stand guilty because as a church we said things like : "We can not baptize a child born to a single mother."
" God can not love gay people - first repent and become straight - then God will love you"
" We can not bury this member of your family because his/her tithes are not paid up"

I have heard all of the above examples from churches that I have had dealings with.

The church has appointed itself as the guardian over morals and values and right and wrong , instead of doing what it was called to do. To proclaim God's Love , and Grace and Mercy to ALL sinners.

But , I guess it is easier to lay down rules and regulations and to create religious hoops for people to jump through than it is to live a daily example of Godly Love and Grace.


Gus said...

Spot On!!!

Thanks for that.

Jacques said...

Hi Neef

Stem saam - ons as gelowiges het geen reg om ander te oordeel nie (Judas 1:9) as selfs die aartsengel Migael nie 'n oordeel wou vel nie - wie is ons?

Maar omdat daar 'n oordeel gaan wees (John12:47-48), en elkeen moet rekenskap gee...

1Pe 4:5 Hulle sal rekenskap gee aan Hom wat gereed staan om die lewende en die dode te oordeel.
1Pe 4:6 Want daarom is ook aan die dode die evangelie verkondig, sodat hulle wel geoordeel kan word na die mens in die vlees, maar lewe na God in die gees.

Act 17:30 God het dan die tye van onkunde oorgesien en verkondig nou aan al die mense oral dat hulle hul moet bekeer,
Act 17:31 omdat Hy ‘n dag bepaal het waarop Hy die wêreld in geregtigheid sal oordeel deur ‘n Man wat Hy aangestel het, en Hy het hiervan aan almal sekerheid gegee deur Hom uit die dode op te wek.

... siende dat dit nog altyd 'n vereiste was om eers ons elkeen te bekeer van ons sonde, en dan te glo (Mar 1:15; Act 2:38) - wil dit vir my voorkom dat ons verantwoordelik is om te vermaan, bestraf en te weerle in lankmoedigheid en nederigheid met die besef dat ons ook kan val...

Ti 4:1 Ek besweer jou dan voor God en die Here Jesus Christus, wat die lewende en die dode sal oordeel by sy verskyning en sy koninkryk:
2Ti 4:2 verkondig die woord; hou aan tydig en ontydig; weerlê, bestraf, vermaan in alle lankmoedigheid en lering;
2Ti 4:3 want daar sal ‘n tyd wees wanneer hulle die gesonde leer nie sal verdra nie, maar, omdat hulle in hul gehoor gestreel wil wees, vir hulle ‘n menigte leraars sal versamel volgens hulle eie begeerlikhede,
2Ti 4:4 en die oor sal afkeer van die waarheid en hulle sal wend tot fabels.

2Ti 3:16 Die hele Skrif is deur God ingegee en is nuttig tot lering, tot weerlegging, tot teregwysing, tot onderwysing in die geregtigheid,

1Th 5:14 En ons versoek julle, broeders, vermaan die onordelikes, bemoedig die kleinmoediges, ondersteun die swakkes, wees lankmoedig teenoor almal.
1Th 5:22 Onthou julle van elke vorm van kwaad.

Jud 1:3 Geliefdes, terwyl ek alle ywer aanwend om aan julle oor ons gemeenskaplike saligheid te skrywe, het ek die noodsaaklikheid gevoel om julle deur my skrywe te vermaan om kragtig te stry vir die geloof wat eenmaal aan die heiliges oorgelewer is.
Jud 1:4 Want sekere mense het ingesluip wat lank tevore al opgeskryf is vir hierdie oordeel, goddelose mense wat die genade van onse God verander in ongebondenheid, en die enigste Heerser, God, en onse Here Jesus Christus verloën.

... sodat ons met die hulp van die Heilige Gees wat die oortuiging bring, gelowiges kan byvoeg - tot God se familie. Ons doen dit uit liefde - nie teregwysing - maar omdat ons wil he dat niemand verlore mag gaan nie.

Groete en liefde
Jou neef

Herman Groenewald said...

I do not disagree with most of what you have said, BUT There has to be discipline.
I am reminded of the word discipline and from that word comes the word disciple. I have set out several verses below. But the point I wish to make is that there needs to be Laws and Discipline within God’s church. One may not agree with some of them and that can been changed in the correct forum, but at least it is disciplined. So the question is not one of judgement but to regulate the workings and discipline within the church. We are all answerable to a higher authority and we are all under the law.
The church of today is God’s instrumenta and institution to do His work and to set the example as Christ’ bride. It is therefore incumbent on the Church to be disciplined and also to teach about God’s Grace, Love and Mercy.

So many breakaway churches has fallen foul not having proper laws and disciplines in place to regulate their church. We need and they need it whether we like it or not.

Heb 12:7 Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers.

Heb 12:11 We don't enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right.

Rom 10:4 Christ is the fulfillment of Moses' Teachings so that everyone who has faith may receive God's approval.

Bec said...

I am an example of someone who believes in Jesus and wishes to have a relationship with God, but finds it disheartening when "Christians" are less accepting than non-Christians.

How is someone of a different background or sexuality supposed to feel the love of God when their first impression of Church-life is that of judgement and shame?

Acts 10 is a brilliant chapter where God shows Peter that some traditions are no longer applicable (in Acts 10:28 Peter admits that God has now shown that preaching to non-Jews is vital to spread the message of Christ - despite contradicting tradition that Jews should not mix with Gentiles).

Many of the verses which speak against homosexuality are from the Old Testament. At the time, having children was imperative to support yourself when you grow old. Nowdays, this is no longer necessary. Remember, the Old Testament also says in some books that having several wives is ok. These are outdated laws and by concentrating on them, we are missing the entire point.

Jesus loves us. All of us. And we have no right to tell people that they are not worthy of his love.

None of us are perfect and we are all sinners. We have no right to judge others. Only God may do that. The church would do right to remember John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Well done Hanno Prinsloo for saying what needs to be said!