God loves Christians // God loves the Church
You would think that by definition those two statements would be accepted by all who follow Christ but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. It has become fashionable for Christian leaders to define themselves as anything but “Christians.” Jesus followers is one popular term. The idea being that “Christian” is loaded with too many negative connotations and has too much historical baggage. If we want to get back to portraying true “New Testament Christianity” we need to take on a new identifying name such as “Jesus followers.” This is problematic given that the book of Acts records that “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (11:25). These weren’t just any “Jesus followers,” these were the disciples of Jesus. The term is also used in Acts 26:28 and 1 Pet 4:16 and by the apostolic Fathers. If we want to portray NT Christianity shouldn’t we use the NT label? This will prevent confusion and if we are concerned about others misusing the name of Christ we need to live up to his name and cause others to reflect on why they are not like us. The actions of some should not prevent us from using Christ’s name! Our actions as Christians can heap burning coals on those who oppose his will.
Other segments of Christians have decided that the Church has failed and we should restructure ourselves according to some new movement. Aside that the fact that ultimately the Church is the body of Christ and not a format we must consider that the early Church was just that – a Church. They held meetings in a centralised location and engaged in the stuff of church (read the Scripture, listened to preaching, prayed, sang, gave, and regularly celebrated Communion). This brings us into the realm of the emergent church and the claim that “Everything Must Change.” I came across two blog posts today reflecting on “How emergent was the early church?” and they conclude that the current emergent church seems to reflect medieval Christianity more than first century Christianity (Cf. New Leaven and The Church of Jesus Christ). All my life I have attended church on Sunday and you know what – every Sunday God has been there too because he loves the Church. It may have its problems but its Christ’s body on earth and as long as people continue to gather in his name he will be present and he promised that not even the gates of Hell could prevail against it! Amen!!