Why We Love the Church:
Okay, it’s not a book review exactly. But I want to heartily recommend to you the book: “Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion” by Kevin deYoung & Ted Kluck. As a pastor, I love the church of Jesus Christ (generally) and I love my church (specifically). And yet, there seems to be this movement in the world today away from being involved in or committed to the local church. Therefore, I want to challenge you to pick up this book, and let it stir up and renew (if need be) your love and passion for the bride of Christ. Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book:
Why we love the church
“The church we love is as flawed and messed up as we are, but she’s Christ’s bride nonetheless. And I might as well haev a basement without a house ora head without a body as despise the wife my Savior loves.” (pg. 19).
“I’m also glad that my church is “organized.” I’m glad my pastor, rather than just freewheeling it, cares enough to study Scripture and a bookshelf full of dead authors to give me real spiritual food each Sunday.” (pg. 24).
“Do we assume police officers are worthless because we still have crime or parents are pointless because kids still do stupid things? Not at all. Why then do we assume that the existence of an unmet need or ongoing tragedy in the world is unassailable proof of the church’s failure?” (pg. 41).
“We don’t want to fall for the old “deeds not creeds” slogan or the confused aphorism, “preach the gospel and use words only when necessary.” No matter what the trendmeisters recommend, it is absolutely biblically and eternally necessary that we verbally tell people the gospel and call people to faith and repentance in Jesus Christ.” (pg. 48).
“If Christians are interested in a Christianity free from doctrine, demands and damnation, they aren’t just sick of the church and its unflattering quirks; they’re tired of the Christian faith altogether.” (pg. 87).
“Church isn’t boring because we’re not showing enough film clips, or because we play an organ instead of a guitar. It’s boring because we neuter it of its importance… At the end of my life, I want my friends and family to remember me as someone who battled for the gospel, who tried to mortify sin in my life, who fought hard for life, and who contended earnestly for the faith.” (pg. 102).
“The Christians met in homes for 300 years because their faith was illegal. They didn’t have anywhere else to meet, which is why buildings started popping up after Constantine decriminalized Christianity… Here’s the bottom line: The whole conversation about church buildings is much ado about nothing. You have to meet somewhere.” (pg. 121).
“I see the church derided with mockery and scorn. I see critics exaggerating her weaknesses and incapable of affirming any of her strengths. I see many leaving the church instead of loving her for better or for worse.” (pg. 138).
“John Stott wrote in his recent book The Living Church: I trust that none of my readers is that grotesque anomaly, an unchurched Christian. The New Testament knows nothing of such a person. For the church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God.” (pg. 159).
“But the Bible simply does not teach a leaderless church. Instead we see the apostles exercising great authority over the churches (e.g., 2 Cor. 13:1-4). We have pastors commanded to “exhort and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15; see also 2 Tim. 4:2). (pg. 168).
“So how can so many show such contempt for preaching when the Bible gives it such a privileged place? … If we lose preaching – the passionate, authoritative proclamation of God’s message from God’s man to God’s people – we are losing more than a half hour talk once a week. We are losing a normative, essential aspect of Christian worship, one that began in the New Testament, stretches back tinto the Old, and has had a rich and continuous history over the past two thousand years.” (pg. 175-176).
“Church meeting in homes is not the problem. The problem is that ‘house church’ in America often means anticlergy, antiauthority, antiliturgy, antisermon, antibuilding, anti-most ways of doing church over the past 1,700 years.” (pg. 179).
“If I could leave you with one thought, it’s this: Go. Go to church. Don’t go for the coffee, the presentations, the music, or the amenities. Don’t even go for the feelings you may or may not get when you go because, no offense, these feelings may or may not be trustworthy most of the time. Go for the gospel. Go for the preaching. Go to be near to God’s Word.” (pg. 196).
“So I guess this is my final advice: Find a good local church, get involved, become a member, stay there for the long haul… Go to church this Sunday and worship there in spirit and truth, be patient with your leaders, rejoice when the gospel is faithfully proclaimed, bear with those who hurt you, and give people the benefit of the doubt. While you are there, sing like you mean it, say hi to the teenager no one notices, welcome the blue hairs and the nose-ringed, volunteer for the nursery once in a while. And yes, bring your fried chicken to the potluck like everyone else, invite a friend to church, take the new couple out for coffee, give to the Christmas offering, be thankful someone vacuumed the carpet, enjoy the Sundays that click for you, pray extra hard on the Sundays that don’t, and “do not despise the day of small things” (Zech. 4:10).