For as long as I can remember, there have been people
who say, “Jesus I love. God I love.
don’t want any part of this thing called
‘church.’ Too many hypocrites. Too
much inconsistency.” They are simply turned off by
the word church. This mindset is
still very much
alive with people who say, “I can take Jesus, but not the
church.” In an effort
to reach such people, I am hearing some disturbing things. Like,
to try to convert these people to Jesus and then gradually introduce
the church later on.” There are some serious basic flaws in
First, let’s look at a few relevant scriptural
matters. (1) Ephesians
1:22-23 says Jesus is the head of
the church and the
church is His body. (2) Acts 2:47 says
the saved are added to the
church. (3) Colossians
1:13 says we are in the kingdom
of Jesus Christ,
and Matthew 16:18-19
church with the kingdom. (4) 1 Timothy 3:15
says the house (family) of God
is the church. Together, these passages forcefully teach that when one
saved, he is a member of Christ’s body, he is added to the
church, he is a
subject of the King and he is a part of the family of God. In other
of this is a part of being a Christian, a necessary part. The very idea
becoming a Christian without becoming a part of this thing called church is foreign to biblical teaching.
To say that one may be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ without
part of the church is to say he could be controlled by the head without
part of the body, or be subject to its king and not be part of the
be a son without being related to his siblings.
Any effort to convert people to Christ without their
knowing they are in the same process becoming part of the church is
and deceptive. When I was young, we had horses. Sometimes the horse did
want to be bridled. I would sometimes have to hide the bridle behind me
hold out an ear of corn to trick him into being caught. This was
I don’t believe it was a sin because I wasn’t
dealing with a human. But when I
try to hide the church from a person and trick him into following
Jesus, I am
not being honest.
Or, suppose a man is thinking of adopting a boy of 15.
The boy has had bad experiences with families. But he develops a liking
man. So, the man decides to pretend he has no family. He’s
going to gain the
boy’s confidence and then later tell him he’ll have
these siblings. Fact is, if
he adopts the boy, this boy will be in the family automatically.
The same process that makes him a son also makes him
a member of the family. So it is with the salvation and the church.
And any “gospel” that tries to save someone without
that person knowing he is being brought into the church is not the
Christ. If you are saved, you are in the church. Read your New
never was any such thing as a person being saved without being a part
church. The saved are the church.
And if anyone is not ready to accept the church and love the church,
then he or
she is not ready to be a follower of Christ. The Bible says Christ
church and gave himself for it. (Ephesians
5:25; Acts 20:28).
The key to reaching the “un-churched” is for the
church to model integrity, consistency and genuineness. When our
our good works, they will glorify the Father. And we won’t
have to pretend that
we are “converting them to Jesus and introduce them to the
church later.” A
religion that does not include the church in the plan of salvation is
religion of Jesus Christ.
Yes, there are hypocrites in the church. Judas led the
way for that crowd. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) fell in line right
him. They have been joined by thousands of others down through the
years. And I
don’t want to be compared to such people for the same reason
a rancher doesn’t
want his herd judged by some sick, skinny maverick of a horse or cow.
Christians are sometimes grossly inconsistent. We are human. But Jesus
still. Aren’t you glad?