Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I didn't take Why We Love the Church with me on vacation, but I finished it after I got back yesterday and my enthusiasm is undiminished. DeYoung and Kluck make the case for organized religion—with all the flaws inevitable in institutions made up of sinners. DeYoung reminds us that "The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me" (p. 226). One of the reasons:
.... No matter what the teachers of tickling ears say, we do have rules to follow. Jesus didn't say if you love Me you'll feel close to Me. He said if you love Me, you'll keep My commandments. The church, as the gathering of those who love Jesus, should be pure, holy, loving, and true—both as an indication of our obedience and as a reflection of the character of God. That's why discipline has traditionally been a mark of the church. Discipline promotes the purity of the church and vindicates the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet how can there be discipline without a church? How can there be accountability if church is not in any way an institution with standards and dogma, but only a gathering of two or more Christians in the park?

Christianity is not whatever we want it to be. It is, whether we like it or not, organized religion. And the church is what gives it its organization shape and definition. That's why people don't like the church. Sure, she's old, stale, and sinister at times. But the other reason—the main reason, I think—people don't like the church is because the church has walls. It defines truth, shows us the way to live, and tells us the news we must believe if we are to be saved.

"If only I could find a church without religion," you think to yourself, "then by golly, that would be the church for me." Except it wouldn't be a church at all. (p. 178)

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