I suppose the most egregious denial of the need to be a vital part of a church is the commonly heard statement that "There is no such thing as a perfect church."
Of course there is no perfect church. The statement is so self-evident that it borders on the ridiculous. Where did anyone ever get the idea that a church might possibly be perfect anyway? Clearly not from the New Testament. Not one church in the New Testament seems to have been without major problems.
I still remember when I heard students in the 1960s suggest that what we really needed was a "New Testament Church." I once asked, "Which one? The one in Ephesus that had left its first love? The one in Laodicea that was lukewarm? Or how about the one in Corinth with all its specific problems enumerated in Paul’s two epistles?"
I have come to the simple conclusion that people today will find any reason possible for remaining neutral, or negative, toward becoming deeply involved in a local church. Idealism is the enemy of reality in most instances. Never was this more true than when people talk about the perfection of the church as a reason for not committing themselves wholeheartedly to other believers in a specific assembly.
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John, Perhaps another reason for people being neutral or negative when getting involved in a church is tehy are looking to be served instead of looking to serve.
Of course there is no perfect church, but I believe there are some local churches doing things better than others.
And I agree that sometimes people are looking to be served rather than to serve, but that sometimes that mentality comes down from the top when there are leaders who believe the people exist for them instead of they for the people.
And, sure sometimes idealism is the enemy of reality, but sometimes it’s what brings about change as well. We could all use a little more idealism sometimes. I’m not sure accepting the reality is always the answer.
You ask which one is the new testament church that we should look for? It is very simple. Look for the one in Ephesians 5:27, a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle. We know it comes to pass because in Revelation 21:2 John sees this Church; the Bride. It is a requirement that we become this Perfect Church, apart of the Body of Christ. There are 6 churches admonished in Revelation to change their ways because Christ will not accept them the way they are. It is required that they change. Also, the church of Philadelphia is the only one that is encouraged to continue because they are doing right. How can everyone think a “Perfect Church” is such a rediculous thought when it is clearly Scriptural.