The third way to ecclesiastical regeneration
By Dr. Robert R. Kopp
I cant imagine anyone disputing the Christological, biblical, spiritual and moral confusion and contention of our much-too-contemporary church; not to mention our world because we dont expect much from governments and cultures that exclude our eternal God from existential decision-making by design.
Conversely, our Lord expects a lot from people who claim Him as saving sovereign. Our Lord expects confession, conduct and countenance consistent with His revealed will in Jesus and the Bible. Thats what prompted Paul to write, Seek the things that are above, where Christ is…Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (see Colos. 3)
Unfortunately, church people seem to be responding in two extreme ways to their problems, which I think of as bloodhound and ostrich ecclesiologies.
Bloodhounds have an excessively keen sense of smell that gets them into lots of trouble. They poke their noses into all the wrong places. Theyre always sniffing around for something.
And isnt that the problem with those ecclesiastical extremes from the left and right who are always sniffing out sins in others? They remind me of the pastor who prayed, And now our hearts go out for all of those pure and perfect newsmen searching for sins in others so we are distracted from theirs.
Ostriches are known for keeping their heads in the sand to avoid the distasteful with the delusion that problems will go away if they just ignore them. But as someone said, When an ostrich buries its head in the ground to avoid unpleasant facts, it only represents an undignified spectacle; it also constitutes an irresistible target.
And there are people longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more. They bring to mind that hilarious yet indicting scene from The Three Stooges when Curly cried, Moe! Moe! I cant see! Whats wrong? asked Moe. And Curly answered, Ive got my eyes closed!
Id like to propose a third waythe only wayto deal with what ails the church: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12)
I suspect some will ridicule my resolution as facile in the same way the uninformed and hysterically jingoistic are ridiculing The Confessing Church movement as naively schismatic when the truth is that, it is only heralding reformed heritage, and may be the only unifying voice in mainline Protestantism.
But I retort rhetorically, When lately have we prayed and worked to say the things that Jesus would say and do the things that Jesus would do as exemplified in His incarnational ministry and explained in the Bible?
Object like an ostrich or smell like a bloodhound for a distraction from reality, the truth that is our contemporary church too often acts more worldly than Wordy. Instead of being directed by the Word, we descend into corporately secular models that are connected to the Word only by coincidence.
You know what I mean. Just consider how we approach planning, budgeting, disputes and institutional growth.
God knows we arent going to agree on everything, but I still believe we can agree on most things if we approach all of the above through Jesus as our theological and ethical filter.
As I look at the biblical account of Jesus, I dont think our Lord is as confused as the church.
Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.