As a Christian, it would be impossible for me to say everything done and said at the church is God’s perfect will, I mean, after all, we are fallible humans with a sin nature second to none. With that said, I do believe that the American Christian Church in its form and function is God’s will.
I recently finished a book that used 12 chapters to grind out all the ways the church in America is a mess and no where near the original church that Jesus planned. From the buildings, to the way churches do communion, to the Pastor and trained clergy, the worship, tithing and literally everything else…basically, the book sighted every element of the Sunday morning worship experience and slayed it. The author even went on to say that the Bible itself is incorrect due to the order of books not being chronological and the numbering of chapters and verses. And because of these reasons people don’t get a full panoramic view of the New Testament, instead we get a chopped up, cut and paste version that takes away from its true meaning.
I’ll be honest, I had a hard time finishing the book. It felt like an anti-Christian writing disguised as Christian lit with a strong element of piety. I’m not going to name the book or the author because I don’t want to give it any additional publicity or recognition.
Here’s my take. The Bible does give plenty of information about the necessary elements of a Biblical church, it also leaves lots of room for interpretations as the Holy Spirit leads believers. I don’t think a fruitful church in Ethiopia is going to look the same a fruitful church in Alabama, this may be why Jesus didn’t bother with explicit instructions on every matter. From what I’ve gathered, here is the short list of the things Jesus revealed in the Bible that a Church body should contain.
- At least 2 or 3 people gathering together in the name of Jesus. Mathew 18:20
- Celebrate the Lords supper together. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
- Led by qualified leaders. Titus 1:5-9
- Worship in songs together. Ephesians 5:18-21
- Maintain corporate holiness though church discipline. Matthew 18:17
- A place for believers to develop and use their spiritual gifts to bless one another. 1 Corinthians 14:26
I’m not claiming this to be an exhaustive list but the idea presented in the book that no part of the American church is inline with the Biblical model is ridiculous.
The local church has a responsibility to be a Spirit led body of Christ, and what that looks like may vary from Body to Body. I believe many if not most of the churches in America were planted out of Spirit led direction and purpose, and I believe the Holy Spirit is leading many church bodies week to week. The Body of Christ in America may be drastically different that the original church demonstrated in Acts, but that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is any less involved or that God is any less glorified though it.