When Loving Means Hating: I Would Have Chosen Atheism

I love the Church.

I believe She is the hope of the world, made up of people in which God lives and moves. The Church was created, appointed and sent out by Jesus himself, to whom all things belong.

I owe the Church.

As a child owes his mother, I owe Her. She has brought the increasingly sweet news of the gospel to my ear and teaches me about living life under the yoke of Christ.

I am the Church.

Christ claims Her, earned righteousness for Her and redeems Her, blemishes and all.  She consists of all believers and only believers. I cannot claim Christ and not claim the Church.

So I love Her, I owe Her and I am Her.

But.

If my faith was rooted in Her alone, I would have chosen atheism long ago. She is broken. God, She is broken.

History and experience tells me that Her brokenness should not continue to surprise me, but it does. I mean, 400 years after Jesus died, Augustine was already calling the Church a whore. And really, the entire Bible is full of stories about a faithful God pursuing His almost always unfaithful people. Yet I still find Her adultery shocking. Even though I’m aware that the Church has been a messed up place for a really long time, I cannot help but be crushed and outraged as She continues to hurt people, take advantage of people and just acts utterly unlike Jesus.

I hate the Church.

Maybe that’s wrong of me but I find myself dreaming about who the Church could be and what She could do.  I want so badly for Her to be who Christ commanded Her to be and have given my life to work for that. I just hate so much about who She has been and continues to be.

Thank God, our faith is to be in the brave, strong, gracious, unstoppable, perfect Messiah who chose to be slaughtered to set Her free, chose to absorb God’s just wrath toward His Bride so that She might be justified; and did all of this knowing We would be unbelievably and incessantly unfaithful to Him.

This is such good news. Good enough to press on with Her.