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Memo to Critics of the Church


You’ve heard the criticisms: “The church is failing. The church is/isn’t doing X.” Don’t listen to those critics. Maybe you are the critic. In that case, I ask you as politely as possible to just shut up.

imgThe church is not failing. The church is faithfully doing exactly what Jesus commanded, and is succeeding to the exact degree that God has foreordained. That is, the church in general, as a whole. Certainly, there are individuals and groups who are not being faithful, and none of us—not even you, O Critic—can claim perfection. But the church, I repeat, is not failing.

Criticize if you must—and sometimes you must—but reserve your criticism for those who need it. No shotgun blasts into the crowd, please. Have the courage and integrity to be specific, to name names when necessary. To send out blanket accusations against “the church” slanders your brothers and sisters, slanders the bride of Christ, and therefore Christ himself.

The church is doing fine. The church is doing wonderfully well, as it has from the beginning, as it will through eternity.

“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).



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2 Comments:


#1 || 13·01·11··11:20 || Bill Weber

Is it really true that "the church is faithfully doing exactly what Jesus commanded"? I suppose it depends on what you mean by "church". But when I consider Jesus' criticism of the churches in Revelation 2-3, it is hard to accept that "the church is faithfully doing exactly what Jesus commanded." But I think you are right in thinking that love for Christ and his people should greatly influence our thinking on the church.


#2 || 13·01·11··16:38 || David Kjos

I’m after those who are constantly pointing the finger without discrimination at “the church,” as though all congregations were part of the judgment of Revelation.

Jesus was rebuking those churches, not the church. He pointed his finger and named names. He did not say “the entire population of my elect is failing,” and neither can we. The gospel is being preached, and disciples are being made and baptized. Pastors are faithfully shepherding the flock, and disciples are following Jesus. There is preaching, administration of the ordinances, and discipline (Calvin’s three marks of the church). There is evangelism.

Where those things are absent, there are unfaithful disciples, false disciples, and apostate churches, but that is no excuse for blanket condemnations of “the church.”


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