The Church vs The Body

Ok, I know, I’m probably taking this all way too seriously.

I started with an almost random thought in “What is the Church?” and perhaps should have let it go but continued in “Consumer Spirituality” I’m just trying to sort out how this whole “one body with one head” works in light of what seems to be an accelerated rate of division in the church.

To be fair I’m not trying to blame anybody here. I’m just pointing out what I feel is a disturbing observation, made even more disturbing for the fact that it seems to mirror the rapidly decomposing and increasing adversarial political landscape.

If I were to try to roll up all the comments I’ve had on the last two posts the theme that seems to emerge looks something like this:

“Yes, the global church should be more unified and it is something we need to work on but were all just broken, wounded people so it is good that we’re at least able to worship together in small groups or in local bodies.”

Wow. “Sorry Jesus, we know you’re the head and we’re supposed to be one body but we’re all broke up just now so we’ll get back to you.”

I wonder though…not to let us off the hook but, is it perhaps more of maturity issue?

Ephesians 4:11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Is Paul saying here that spiritual gifts were given with the intent in mind that they’d be used to bring the WHOLE Body to maturity and unity? Is it an end state or goal rather than an ongoing operating model? If so shouldn’t we be working towards that end?

In light of all of the “church advertising” that seems to want to say, “we’re more relevant than your old church” or “we do church different” or “we’re different that your parents church” or “we’re protestant not catholic” I wonder when we start to cross the line from being one Body unified in Christ and become a house divided against itself?

If this state of unity of the Body is a mature end state or goal what can we do today to help individuals and churches move in that direction?

2 responses to “The Church vs The Body

  1. These are great posts! I’ve tried to comment before but couldn’t get my phone to push my comments through. Hopefully this time is different. I think you are right in a lot of what you have said. I do feel that there is a growing division in the ‘church’. But I also see in different circles that there is a growing unity in faith and knowledge. I think Ephesians 4 ( what you quoted above) is the key. Most churches are under pastoral or teacher authority. I believe it is designed to function at its highest potential when all local churches come under Apostleship, then under the Prophets, then the Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists. This order is given in one of the Corinthians. I believe the division is from what Jesus said when He Himself said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I think of the Apostles (and there are apostles today or we just decide not to believe Ephesians 4) as general managers. They are Spiritually seeking the direction for the church. Prophets are the head coaches. Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists are assistant coaches. They all have authority, but there is a chain. Of. Purse Jesus is the owner who ultimately decides where His ‘money’ and ‘team’ go. I think the division is caused because we have assistant coaches trying to run the practices and games, and it’s just not their calling. Not that they are lesser of people or positions in the Body. Just different callings and purposes. The local church bodies that uses excelling in unity with all people are those that have purposed their local church into this government. The division must happen because the church is in a specific refining fire right now, and all that can be burned away will be. I’m not talking about losing people. I’m speaking of losing strongholds, religion, and bad theology. People will choose for themselves who to serve. Unity is coming, but the refining fire is extremely hot. Sorry I just blogged in your comments. But this very topic is very dear to me!!! And I think Ephesians 4 is exactly where the church is being taught right now by the Holy Spirit. And the church I just referred to is ALL who follow Jesus, regardless of their theology!

    Aaron

  2. You are speaking to something that has been on my heart for a while. I have felt guilty for a long time for not being that all-out Christian who is constantly winning souls for Jesus or the missionary type person who is constantly inviting people to church. And I felt guilt for that. Until one day I realized that I am the person who helps equip those who do that sort of stuff. My gifting is teaching, and in doing that I am building up the body to do the work. Now, that doesn’t get me off the hook with evangelizing, but it certainly let’s me know that I need to be who I am in the body of Christ. Also, I have felt that the church (mine specificially but apply it as you will) does a good job at loving people into the family but then does not do a great job at helping them mature. We tell them what they should do but so many just don’t take the steps needed. Why? We need to figure this out. There seems to be a gap kind of like you might see with income gaps, and I dont like it. My personal goal is to reach those who want to grow but don’t know how or maybe they dont’ know that’s what they’re looking for. Am I making any sense?

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