Monday, September 05, 2005

Personal/Theology -- Embracing ALL of the Body of Christ

I had a very interesting and deeply humbling experience Sunday night. As a part of one of my seminary classes, I am required to visit and evaluate preaching services at various churches. Sunday evening I had planned to visit a fairly large Southern Baptist Church in the area. When I got there, however, I discovered that they were not having a regular service that evening, so I had to find somewhere else to go. I found a small Independent Baptist Church called Welcome Baptist Church and decided to go there. The church sign read, “Sin invites judgment,” so I was quite sure that this would be an interesting experience. The problem was that I approached the entire situation without the mindset of Philippians 2:1-11 or 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. I thought I would go incognito and see how this church treated me. That was how I was going to evaluate them. It didn’t take more than about 5 minutes, though, for the Holy Spirit to severely rebuke my arrogance. “You’re not here to criticize or critique; you’re a part of this Body whether you like it or not!” So my austere demeanor very quickly changed to an attitude of love—and I’m sure that I and Welcome Baptist Church were both better off because of it. I decided to smile and be friendly and try to be an encouragement to these believers. After all, I was probably the first visitor that had seen in quite a while. I am very thankful that God changed my attitude quickly. I left feeling like I had been able to encourage these people and be a blessing to them rather than simply a thorn in their side for that evening. And, not so amazingly, they were a blessing and an encouragement to me as well! I learned that night that I have been far too hypocritical in my embracing of parts of the Body of Christ. If I can embrace the Pipers, the MacArthurs, the Sprouls, the Packers and others, I must be just as willing to embrace the names that I’ve never heard of and will probably never hear again.

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Jesus is the way.
Casting Crowns

5 comments:

Trooper137 said...

Great post! I found myself traveling and visiting churches while working in other states and condemning them for not doing thisgs the way we do! Was I wrong!! God has better things for us to do than constantly criticize instead or tryign to reach the lost. I will talk to you soon.

Will said...

Yeah, I understand. I am reminded again of Phil. 1:15-18. Christ is being preached, so I will rejoice!

u-th man said...

thank you for your honesty and candor. fundamentalism and especially "educated" fundamentalism has an unfortunate propensity towards harsh and unbiblical criticism. we must continue to be discerning while still striving towards Christlike love and unity. may we model the "one another passages" in our lives. may we be marked by GRACE !!! keep up the good work

Will said...

Kirk, you're right about that "unfortunate propensity." Ironically, many parts of Fundamentalism have that propensity towards broader Evangelicalism while the Evangelical world has that propensity towards Fundamentalism. Of course, that raises a whole new set of questions about the legitimacy of these distinctions in Christianity...but that's for another time! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that we can always learn from the Holy Spirit if we are willing! It is not about us and our way, it is about Him and His Way. Keep learning and growing! SSL