Thursday, July 22, 2004

You know what I'm finally sick of? I'm sick of self-appointed critics whining about the church.

Of course the church isn't perfect. It's composed of sinful humans, so it has its flaws. But I've been in five churches over the past 12 years (we moved around a lot) and I happen to love the church.

Are there things about my church (or even evangelicalism, or even the Church) that I'd change? Of course there are. But I'm not obsessesed by those things every moment of every day. Yet I'm discovering (though hopefully it's just a publishing and internet phenomenon) more and more people who are absolutely obsessed with How Lousy Today's Church Is. They can think of little else.

Mind you, these aren't the people who happen to find a flaw, point it out, and set about fixing it (or forgiving it--when's the last time you saw that?). These are the people who can do nothing other than complain about their church, your church, and the Church. There are entire websites and forums dedicated to their complaints. People like Philip Yancey (who's done some work I really like) have practically built careers off of feeding their complaints.

To all such people I say: get over it. You had a bad experience in church when you were 11? That's too bad. Now get your butt out from behind the keyboard and go do something. Go minister to someone. Quit your incessant complaining. Stop being a noose around your pastor's neck. Repent of your pharisaical self-righteousness dressed up as astute ecclesiastical criticism. If you don't like the way your church is run, start your own. If you don't think your pastor is well-read enough, buy him a few books as a gift and then zip it. If you don't think your congregation is theologically astute enough, then have a little patience with them and start teaching them. If the pastor won't let you teach, then submit to him or leave--but quit whining.

If every church you've been in has been a bad experience for you, I've got news for you: you're the problem. Biblical Christians see problems in the church and address them. Self-important fools merely proclaim problems, under the narcissistic illusion that they're actually accomplishing something through their "prophetic" whining.

I feel better now. Maybe I solved the problem by proclaiming it.

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