By Jennifer M Valentine
During the time of the early church and the command of Christ, the church was an institution. Though, Jesus and his followers founded the organisation as a visible manifestation of his Kingdom. But does that mean this is what our church is today in the twenty-first century? That is hard to answer as a general principle since there are a number of different churches today and around the globe with many different characteristics. None of these specific churches can be identified exclusively or totally with the Kingdom of God. They contain the faithful and the imposter. No one church follows the teachings of Jesus completely and faithfully.
With that being said, it is equally apparent that many Christians and ministers today have developed the attitude that somehow their local government is supposed to enforce by law what only the Spirit of God can enforce through grace. Let’s be plain: local government cannot do the church’s job.
Likewise, it is not even our central government’s role to undertake family duties. It is the responsibility of each mother and father to teach morality and faith to their children. Parents are given the task of disciplining and correcting their children.
The Prime Minister revealed during a No. 10 meeting with church leaders how he has been rocked by the fuel crisis and the rows over donors and the pasty tax. He said: “In the past week I’ve felt like I needed someone to pray for me.” (Telegraph, 2012)
Mr Cameron also tried to heal a rift with churches over his plans for gay marriage. In a surprise move, he hailed the “Christian fight back” on the right to wear a cross – and praised Christian values. (Daily Mail, 2012). There is therefore a major impetus for Christians to step up in their thinking, because it is not the government’s role to step up for them.
At this point, I should make it clear that state and local governments have every right-and even the responsibility-to establish community standards. Central and local governments are legitimately within their rights to prohibit those activities deemed harmful to the health and well-being of their communities.
Many churches, locally and globally, are struggling just to stay afloat, including my own. It’s not the responsibility of the church to bail the government out of its own debt. Christ’s church is an example of thankful people who give glory to God because of his resurrection, strength and power.
There are a lot of people who have nowhere to turn and no options and they end up on the street. However, there are a great number of homeless people who are that way because of drug addiction, mental illness, and other similar circumstances. These people need to be helped by government agencies and institutions for their specific problems. However the church is there to meet a need; which is to serve. God is glorified as outreach efforts bless the lives of those in need.
There are many Christians who see servant hood as a lack of power because throughout history it is associated with servants or slaves. We find this stress on service throughout the Gospels and the ministry of Jesus. It is written “who ever wants to be great among you must serve the rest like a servant” and “whoever wants to become the first among you must serve all of you like a slave.” Matthew 20:26 NIV
At such, the most important thing to remember about the Church is that it is not a mass of human beings, but of God. The reason as to why your church should be that light house church situated high up on a hill is that Christ is not only the founder, He is also its head.
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Words Pressed: A Short Biography – copyright © 2012 Jennifer M Valentine