It looks like while I was away, Mac Swift responded on his blog to my post dealing with the unintended arrogance of Lone Ranger Christianity. As you may recall, I took to task Christians who decided they had no need for church, citing arrogance as one of the (often unintended) outcomes of such a view. This from believers who think that their walk is above associating themselves with “lesser Christians.”
Mr. Swift, a self-proclaimed churchless Christian, disagrees:
The mistake is in inaccurately labeling these churches as being part of the body of Christ. If the church was partly filled with satanists, would you consider them part of the body of Christ as well? Church organisations should never be considered a legitimate part of the body of Christ, because the building and its hierarchy do not always reflect the spiritual makeup of its membership. Many members in the church, including the leadership may in truth not be a legitimate part of the body of Christ. Jesus had warned before that not everyone who calls him, “LORD, LORD” or in other words, not everyone who professes to be Christian will make it into heaven, but only those who do the will of his Father.
Bridges’ moronic reasoning basically tells us that if a church was being run by a pastor who is in reality a satanist, the church would still be a part of the body of Christ. How stupid is this? We wouldn’t be able to call the church run by Jim Jones evil if we followed this train of logic to its absurd conclusion.
It is individuals that define the church, not the other way around…
I’d like to correct this last sentence first. It is Christ who defines the church, Mr. Swift, not individuals. The New Testament pattern is one of churches comprised of those chosen by God unto salvation. Problems that occurred in these churches were addressed by the New Testament epistles to correct errors of the churches, not to disperse them.
As for the previous points, I’ve reread my post, and I’ve yet to see how my supposed “moronic reasoning” leads to such a conclusion. To answer Mr. Swift’s own question “How stupid is this?” I say, “very stupid indeed.” I’ve never known a satanist to confess Christ as Lord. Furthermore, a pastor does not constitute a church. The church is the body of believers. This is not some radical new idea, it is a biblical idea. The ekklesia are those who confess Christ. True there is a church invisible and a church visible—there will be some impostors, we are called to be the church nonetheless.
The idea that all churches are apostate sounds remarkably like the argument Mormons use. Mormons claim that all churches became apostate shortly after the death of the apostles. Throughout the ages the “true church” did not exist until Joseph Smith founded it anew.
I don’t think Mr. Swift is waiting to found the church anew, but I do think he has distanced himself from biblical Christianity in distancing himself from church. If there are no biblical churches in his area, why does he not seek to plant a biblically-based church? Why would one rather proudly proclaim his independence from the body?