When the church is off track, however, it’s a massive discouragement to many who want to follow Jesus (Mere Churchianity by Mark Spencer pg. 153)
There is so much wrong with the attitude expressed in that quote. It is far too subjective for one and such thinking comes from those people who usually do not like the fact that the church is not doing what they want to see done or that they have been rebuked for some sin or acceptance of sin and they do not like that. These people always demand that the church change even though their alternatives may not be biblical themselves.
Mark Spencer did mention a couple of things we liked in his book, particularly about meeting hurting people needs but even that is far more complicated than Mr. Spencer mentions in his book. Instead of rolling up their sleeves or getting properly trained in the truth and filling the void they see in the church ministry, the people like Mr. Spencer turn to criticizing and attacking the church.
They do this because they have a distorted view of the church, its purpose and a distorted view of Jesus and his ministry. They want the pastoral staff to do most if not all of the work failing to realize that God did not create the positions of pastor and elders so that they do all of the spiritual work in the church.The last line bothers us a lot because following Jesus does not mean we criticize and attack the church. Jesus never attacked the sacrificial system or the temple and its positions but only went after the sins of the religious leaders. He did not say that the temple had to change and be more contemporary either to attract new members.
We have a problem with people like Mr. Spencer simply because they ignore biblical teaching and then think they are ‘following Jesus’. They ignore sin and the need of repentance before acceptance into the kingdom of God and feel their ‘progressive’ ideology is of God when everyone else knows that neither God nor Jesus change nor does their word.
Granted the church is not perfect but people need to stop expecting perfect behavior from fallible people and this includes other Christians. The solution to this problem is for people like Mr. Spencer to learn the truth correctly first, apply it to their lives and be a shining light to even the church world. Attacking and criticizing the church in the manner that they do is not a gift of the Holy Spirit. Changing the biblical instructions is not a divine mandate given to a few people who are discontented with the way their church is run.
Putting correctly into practice what God taught in the Bible is and this may lead some people to leave their current congregations but it does not grant them permission to point a finger and attack the members of the church they just left or are members of. They still have to practice what Jesus taught and loving your neighbor does not exclude the supposedly error-filled church and its members. They still need to experience the love of God correctly but not with false teaching, which so many like Mr. Spencer adopt when they become dissatisfied with how their church operates.
A distorted view of the church leads people to sin and false teaching. It does not allow them to correctly follow Jesus. These people need to double-check their enlightenment first before accusing the church of being in error. For the errors they see may be their own.