Over the weekend we discussed, over and over again, the politics of the church. A bunch of people we know have left one church to set up another: for reasons that may be good, but the means by which they are doing this are not good.

I came back to this question: to whom do we give our worship? Is it to the church, or to God? Is it the heirarchy of the church or the politics of the church that drive us, or God?

My beloved says at times it is the building: less so in Dunedin, where our best churches are Victorian Gothic, and many of them will be pulled down because of earthquake risks.

So we went to church, because it is good to worship God and encourage each other. It was a superb service, with a superb sermon... that the latter times will be better than the former, and we therefore should not look past to the greatness of former generations and despair, but instead rejoice that there is a great harvest of souls of eternal value set before us.

Or, as the preacher said on Sunday, heaven rejoices when one man is saved.

Matthew 15:10-21

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

ESV

The Pharisees were offended, for Christ had contradicted their regulations. It was a point of pride to not merely eat Kosher (even Peter, who acknowledged himself as a sinful man, did that) but to do it in an ostentatious manner.

Acting more righteous than one can be, and remain flawed, humble and human.

We see easily the Pharisaism of those on the correct side of the law, who damn the evil thoughts, immorality, perjury, slander and theft they see while not acknowleding their own, But we see less clearly the same pharisiac approach of the modern progressive, who wants us to eat grain for the planet and monitor and account for our carbon footprint, while ignoring evil, immoraily, perjury, slander and theft.

The response of Christians must be that we are the ones who used to live like that.


Photo by Dan Novac / Unsplash

For we were not called to be of Christ because we were worthy. We were all unworthy. It is not a certain caste of people who have broken the law and have to reform their lives, but all of us. We have offended the laws of God and the natural law, within our hearts.

We cannot keep our own standards, let alone Gods.

And in Christ we can be reconciled with our creator. Only through him.

But those who worship religion and not God are blind. There are many within the church like this, and even more without. Those that plant a church without God will see it wither, and those who follow God will see growth, and eternal joy.

This does require discernment, and here I have one hint: the person who looks perfect is not. For God builds up the broken. To him be all the glory.