I Don’t Care About the Church’s Reputation

“I don’t care about the church’s reputation!” What a freeing place to be. I must admit that this is not entirely true. I do care that so much hatred, selfishness, and foolishness has been done by the Christian church, but I don’t care enough to try and hide it, excuse it, or minimize it.

cross-2438939__340I was just on a discussion board where atheists and Christians were debating over the damage that Christians have done in the world, it started with a question about slavery. I watched as some Christians attempted to justify these actions in theological terms and I watched how these weak arguments fell on deaf ears. What I thought was fascinating was that it sounded like the Christians were trying to defeat the atheists in a war of words, but most surprising was that is felt like their own reputation was at stake. Then it hit me that this is often where we find ourselves when reputation becomes so important.

Often it seems that people begin to defend Christianity as if they were defending God and more to the point, think that God really needs our help. The same types of arguments were used by the Roman Catholic Church when they hid pedophiles- they were concerned over the church’s reputation as a whole and concerned about the impact it would have on believers and nonbelievers alike.

I say pull back the curtain and let God handle the fall out. He has been using imperfect people and stories for thousands of years. The bible is not a pretty picture of God followers and there does not appear to have been much attempt to sanitize it.

I came across this a few weeks ago, it was a little staggering for me as I took it in:

17th Century Tombstone

Sacred to the Memory

Of

Lynn S. Love

Who, during his life time, killed 98 Indians that had been

Delivered into his hands by the Lord. He had hoped to

Make it 100 before the year ended when he fell asleep in

The arms of Jesus in his home,

In N.Y. State

 

This is part of our collective story as Christians. We as a whole have often failed to care for those we were called to care for. EVERY generation of Christians has succumbed to time-for-a-change-2015164__340the culture of the day and acted out of something other than love, so it would be arrogant to think that we are not doing the same. Just as when an individual denies part of his or her story, when we as a church or country deny part of ours, we are doomed to repeat it.

 

Yes, I fear what people will think when they read this tombstone. I worry about those who are on the edge of believing in Jesus, but if I can’t trust that God can take care of his sheep without hiding the truth what do I really believe in.

 

We can’t be reputation monitors anymore. When something is wrong in the church shout it on the mountaintops. If the emperor is naked, let him know- save the reputation management for the politicians.

 

“Eagles are independent thinkers. The church today is in desperate need of eagles…Ask the hard questions, take risks, search for the truth, and soar above mediocrity.” Chuck R. Swindoll

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3 responses to “I Don’t Care About the Church’s Reputation

  1. One thing Christians shouldn’t do, in my personal opinion, is debate. I don’t see the point, especially when the opposing side is likely not to sway. We are to let our yes be yes, and our no be no. But I do think it’s important to understand the history of Christianity.

    A lot of Christians are ignorant or choose not to hear it, and this is why I feel a lot of nonbelievers struggle, they aren’t heard. Christ listened to sinners however. I believe there is a lot of hypocrisy in the church, and have been in the hearts of many believers for centuries. There. That’s what people want understanding on.

    Not excuses. Not justification. Believers did not always follow Christ, that’s the truth. While I can’t change what they did, I have authority over myself. I think that’s how Christians should try to approach the topic. You’re very right!

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