Friday, October 10, 2008

Why the church matters

“. . . the church of the living God, the pillar and buttress of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

The church is suffering massive loss of prestige in our time. This may be the most salient and abiding mark of our generation. Does it matter? Why fight to re-dignify the church? What is at stake here?

“The church of the living God.” A church is where the idols of our culture can be clearly discredited and the living God rallied around, rejoiced in, worshiped, studied, loved and obeyed. If the church is dead, God’s own appointed testimony to his living reality powers down. The felt reality of God in the world today is at stake in our churches.

“The pillar and buttress of the truth.” A "pillar" holds something up high for all to see. In this world, the one truth that will not only outlast America but will outlast the universe needs to be put on clear display rather than submerged under all the stuff that’s demanding our attention week in and week out. A church can make the gospel obvious and accessible through preaching, teaching, memorizing, catechizing, blogging, etc.

A "buttress" firms something up, makes it strong. For many, the gospel does not feel strong. Other things hold them together. A church buttresses the gospel by showing that it really works. Not only does the gospel create the church, but a church also buttresses the gospel. The gospel starts feeling solid and believable and urgently needed as our greatest resource in all of life.

By divine appointment, the church makes the real God seem real, it shouts the truth loudly enough that busy people actually start paying attention, and it embodies living proof that the gospel is a saving power for real people living real lives today.

The church matters. Your church matters. God bless you this Sunday.