I am reading Doug Wilson and Doug Jone’s book Angels in the Architecture. It has been very good so far. I thought I would share some quotes from a chapter on the church. I found it very interesting in light of recent conflict:
The Church should be so central in our thinking that without her life would collapse.
We’re so American that any talk of genuine Church authority immediately provokes talk of abuses and in- (luisitions and popes. In an era of thousands of splintered denominations where anyone can hang a church shingle on his own home, worry about Church authority is like lonely orphans stubbornly avoiding Mom. Mom has been thrown out with the bath water; baby sits alone.
We are far more comfortable removing our hat and lowering our eyes for the state than for the Church. Even though the full majesty and fire of the Triune God has determined to bring blessing and cursing through the institution of the Church, we treat the Church with the same deference we give a community bulletin board-a little info, a little humor, a little opportunity.
But when we consider the Church, we think it acceptable to skip around churches as if they were fast food stands. This stand didn’t fulfill niy needs. We decide whether they are worthy of our money. I decide if the teaching is acceptable.
Yet a mother’s law need not be perfect to be authoritative. And when it needs correcting, individuals have no right to do so as vigilante theologians. How disrespectful.
The Church corrects her own creeds. After all, to her alone, not the state, not the family, not Dad, not the parachurch, did Christ give promises of truth and eternal perseverance.
The Church, like a nursery, can be a messy place at times, ripe with the smell of rebellion and ignorance. But we should despise divisions and childish quarrels like warriors despise combat-sometimes battle is necessary, but we should never long for it.
Perfectionism in the Church is very ugly, yet rampant. Calvin complained, “for there have always been those who, imbued with a false conviction of their own perfect sanctity, as if they had already become a sort of airy spirits, spurned association with all men in whom they discern any remnant of human nature.”
The Lord has called us to be patient with some “doubtful matters” that appear very clear cut, like vegetarianism (Rom. 14: I-1), and He even had patience with Naaman bowing before an idol (2 Kgs. 5:18), and with the heretical disobedience of the Corinthians. Dare we have higher standards than God Himself? Surely we could love truth and draw doctrinal distinctions without having to divide the brethren? “For I desired mercy and not sacrifice” (Hos. 6:6).
Do we love the Church? Is she central to our life and community? Do we show respect to her work and heed her pronouncements? Do we hate divisions and long for peace? Do we weep to see her healthy again? Could we really say in her absence, “my soul was wounded and my very life torn asunder”? Surely, Proverbs should haunt us: “a foolish man despises his mother” (Prov. 15:20).