Monday, November 2, 2009

Loving the church you're in, not the one you wish for

Carl Trueman has written another great article for Ref21. I was reminded about our tendency to love the church that does not actually exist more than we love the church in which the Lord has placed us.

Trueman writes:
Thus it is that my wife and I are now members of the OPC. It is where the Lord has placed us, and it is where we are to serve. There may be bigger churches, there may be better churches, but here is where we find ourselves; here is where the Lord has put us; here is where we are to serve and to love our fellow believers in Christ. I may have a few initials after my name; I may be a seminary professor; I may have published books; but these things make me no better than any other member of the body, and certainly do not exempt me from a proper accounting of my work in the local church where the Lord has put me, whether it is taking out the trash or helping to dismantle the tent after Vacation Bible School. Here is where we are; these are the people among whom we must live and whom we must serve. Indeed, if I happen to preach and some five year old child comes up to me afterwards and asks me "Who made God?", I must not patronize her, or ignore her, or fob her off with some trite but inadequate pietism; I must answer her question with the seriousness that it deserves. Like all believers, I am called to serve others, and primarily to serve where God has placed me.

Remembering these simple facts about the Christian life can help orient us to priorities. For example, I have been asked by several people over recent years whether Christians should respond if they are criticized or defamed on the web. The answer is simple: for myself, I do not believe that it is appropriate that I spend my time defending my name. My name is nothing - who really cares about it? And I am not called to waste precious hours and energy in fighting off every person with a laptop who wants to have a pop at me. As a Christian, I am not meant to engage in self-justification any more than self-promotion; I am called rather to defend the name of Christ; and, to be honest, I have yet to see a criticism of me, true or untrue, to which I could justifiably respond on the grounds that it was Christ's honour, and not simply my ego, which was being damaged. I am called to spend my time in being a husband, a father, a minister in my denomination, a member of my church, a good friend to those around me, and a conscientious employee. These things, these people, these locations and contexts, are to shape my priorities and my allocation of time. Hitting back in anger at those who, justly or unjustly, do not like me and for some reason think the world needs to know what they think of me is no part of my God-given vocation. God will look after my reputation if needs be; He has given me other work to do.

Please take time to read the entire article HERE.

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