The purpose of this article is to find out whether or not it is okay to speak against The Church. In fact, is it okay to speak against a local church of which is a smaller part of the whole Body of Christ? Often criticism against the Church is popular among secularists and Christians alike. In fact, some pastors would seemingly speak in such a way to attract people to their church particular part of the whole Body. Usually this type of attraction is levied in such a way to try to get Christians to leave their church, or to reach those who say they are Christians who have rejected church. That might be another blog someday. While those on the other side, meaning, those outside of The Church universal would criticize The whole Body in general. Many of these are those who want nothing to do with Christ because they have rejected Him by determining to live their lives on their own without Him. In other words, they do not want to live lives influenced by Jesus Christ. In fact, this is God’s gift to them anyway because He allows them to choose freely to live without Christ. On the other hand, there are those who want the gift of life which only is available through Jesus Christ. Yet, these sometimes only want eternal life and, therefore, follow Christ in the way that they see fit. Sounds very similar to those who reject outright, but only God knows the heart; yet, Jesus does tell us that we will know them by their love, while Paul says by their Fruit. In other words, these do not allow Jesus to be their Lord, but will allow Him to be their Savior if such a distinction is possible.
When trying to put our minds around the idea of Church, the Bride of Christ, it is helpful to remember that The Church is both Human and Divine at the same time. It is important to understand this concept in order to properly address the question at hand. As a result, this simply means that churches can make mistakes and need correction from the Word of God as prompted by The Holy Spirit; hence, Human and Divine at the same time. This is usually needed when the church has gone outside of the boundaries of what is written in the Bible. In fact, when correction is needed, it is not necessarily from an individual who is not associated with The Church. Therefore, denominationally, there is usually supervision that comes from those whom God has placed in leadership and their charge is to hold a local Body accountable to operate within the boundaries of what is written in The Bible. These leaders are overseers that we trust that God has placed in these roles. If not, God will remove them. In fact, when governing a Body, leadership will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, The Bible, and historically from the early Church fathers. This should be a comfort for those who tend to be suspicious of churches.
It seems that many Christians in America, in particular, have not been discipled properly. In other words, it seems that many fall into the group of people who want to be saved by Christ, but they do not want to follow and obey Him. This may be the result of praying a simple prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and then believing that the finish line has been reached. This is far from the truth. In fact, receiving Christ is the starting point. Yet, most churches, unfortunately, do not disciple young believers (not young by physical age, but still new in their belief) into a healthy relationship with Jesus as their Teacher for life. Jesus is supposed to teach all believers not only how to live Holy lives, but also how to love and protect The Church while existing in a hostile world. After all, He gave His life for everyone to be incorporated into The Church (God’s Kingdom; the New Israel). In fact, Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25). Further, in this same passage, some accused the work that Christ did as being the work of Satan. This is blasphemy against The Holy Spirit. Jesus warned them about this type of accusation. Therefore, it only makes sense that Christians are not quick to make accusations against Christ’s Church and churches. After all, if God is doing something unusual through The Church or churches, it is better safe than sorry.
The Apostle Paul addressed the importance of The Church in the world, by dealing with the Corinthian Church which was part of the whole Body, in 1 Corinthians. In fact, contrary to popular belief, churches exist to hold members accountable according to this book. In this church, Paul said that there were those who were not Spirit-filled and seemed to build the church from the foundation of everything but the Cross. They did so because they operated under the influence of the world’s wisdom and not under the Spirit’s wisdom which is not of this world. Therefore, when listening to those who would criticize The Church, one needs to decide whether or not someone is has a unifying spirit or not. God desires that His Kingdom be united here on earth. If not, then it is usually because the person may not be filled with the Spirit. This means The Church should not listen to someone who fits this mold. In fact, if someone is not filled with The Spirit, The Bible seems to classify this person as someone who is part of the Kingdom of this world.
In answering the question of whether or not it is okay to make accusations against The Church, or part of the whole Body, one needs to see what The Bible said about it. In fact, Paul talked about the dangers of someone who believes he or she is wise. The issue he dealt with was that unity had been challenged by those who followed certain leaders and their particular teachings. Division was brought about because worldly wisdom seemed to help shape the Corinthian Church. Paul believed that those who created division and operated under the influence of worldly wisdom were actually destroying The Church. Here is his reply, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred and you together are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:16-17, NIV). This is usually a passage that some like to use to discourage Christians from drinking and smoking. But, in the context that it is found, and the plural “you” that is used, it is obvious that God has a major problem with those who are destroying His Church whether knowingly, or unknowingly.
Therefore, creating division and making accusations seems to be dangerous. It is true that people can have an opinions. Yet, those opinions must submit to the authority of God’s Word. At least if these who say they are Christians would desire to please the Lord. According to The Bible, Satan is one who accuses the Saints, those who belong to The Church, and with that knowledge it is a very serious thing to bring accusations against The Bride of Christ. Moreover, it seems that these Scriptures, along with others not listed, seem to exist to cause one to consider carefully what he or she says. In my opinion, it is best not to bring an accusation unless the accuser has had a Burning Bush experience. Yet, even then, signs and wonders would accompany such an individual.