In a meeting I attended recently with some church leaders from around the country I heard this phrase spoken as a sample of how young adults view the Church: “They like Jesus, but hate the church.”
If I understand New Testament ecclesiology we don’t have the luxury of separating Christ and his Bride.
Jesus and the Church are one and the same.
When Saul was on his way to Damascus to continue his persecution of Christ’s Church a blinding bright light appeared from heaven, Saul fell to the ground, and he heard a voice from heaven saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”Acts 9:4
Who was Saul persecuting? The Church.
Who did the Lord accuse Saul of persecuting? Himself (“Me”)
What’s the lesson? Jesus was taking the persecuting of his church personally. What you do to the Church you do to Jesus. What we do to–and say about–the Church, we’re doing–and saying–about Jesus.
We can’t like Jesus and hate the church. It’s a false dichotomy (Jesus on one side-His Church on the other).
That’s like saying, “I like Arron, but hate Rhonda (my wife).” Here’s a little advice: Don’t say that within swinging distance of my right arm. 🙂
How you treat my wife is how you treat me.
I understand the angst reflected in the statement (“I like Jesus but hate the Church”). Many young–and older–adults are frustrated with the legalism, traditionalism, and divisiveness they see in their congregations or the church as a whole. They love Jesus and want to see his Bride become all she can be, but I think they’re . . . we’re . . . going at it the wrong way.
In my opinion the best way to help the Bride of Christ (the Church) to become stronger, healthier, and more unified is simply to love her–and her Groom–even more.