So I’ve been among those who have found it quite easy to criticize the
things that have happened in the church. I don’t know if it is
because I’m American and its part of our culture to constantly
self-critique, or if it is because it is cool to distance myself from
the less desirable and more institutional elements of the church.
But more and more, I realize how lame it is for most of us to criticize
the church. The church is an easy target in much the same way
America is an easy target–both are expected to uphold a certain
standard of goodness and morality. Should we expect more of the
church? Yes. We are God’s people, a sign of the kingdom.
But the truth is, the very elements that we fault the church for only
exist for the very reason why we have a higher vision for the
church–grace. The doors of the church are necessarily open very
wide. Jesus welcomed all, and all sorts find their way into the
church. If God welcomes messed up people into his family, should
it really surprise us when we see those same messed up people
“misrepresenting Jesus” (as if we were better models…)?
Now, I want to be clear (because I am usually not) that I don’t believe
the church is untouchable. However, I believe that when we point
out what is wrong with the church, we should realize that we cannot so
easily distance ourselves from the parts that we dislike or
disdain. We are one body under one Lord.
This also means that we must never overlook the amazing transformations
that God has been bringing about in the church. God still loves
the church and is actively moving in its midst. So when we speak
our brothers and sisters, we display the Holy Spirit when we
speak–even in criticism–with humility and reverence knowing we are speaking about God’s