Gosden: Christians need church

Ben Gosden writes with his usual passion and thoughtfulness about one of the raging questions of the day: Do Christians need the church?

As much as we love the idea of a renagade Jesus who thumbed his nose at organized religion, it’s simply not supported by biblical evidence. Jesus did critique the Law and Temple life, but he didn’t leave the organized community. He was a faithful Jew who observed the rituals and knew the Law inside and out. It’s an American phenomenon to think one can be faithful by leaving the organized Church to launch out on an individual journey of faith. [Moralistic Therapeutic Deism] tells us that in those instances, Jesus just becomes the moral exemplar we choose to ascribe to. That’s very different than the Jesus who came, lived, and died to be the image of the unseen God that sin and death might be eternally defeated.

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6 thoughts on “Gosden: Christians need church

  1. Of course Christians need the church. I agree with Ben in this regard. However, I am seriously beginning to think about leaving an institution that does not preach Christ, is more concerned about its self-preservation than the well-being of its neighbor, and that has rejected me repeatedly by moving me from church to church and then asking me to retire after 24 years of service. I am beginning to think that there is no role in the community that I have dedicated much of my life to support, uphold, and be loyal to. I have been hanging on by a thread, trying to be a change agent from within (I currently have a petition pending at General Conference http://hollyboardman.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/a-more-equitable-salary-petition-to-general-conference/ that is an effort to transform the culture of our church in a Biblical, healthy way. I have been around our church long enough to know that I am probably “tilting at windmills” in this effort (as one of the commenters on your blogpost said). However, I’m giving it a shot, in obedience to what I perceive was a distinct inpiration from God.

    As a clergywoman, one of the dilemmas I face is the reality that I don’t see another “church” I can easily go to. Some might accept me; but framkly, I am not inclined to seek acceptance in a church that would require me to give up my ordination, or my clear understanding in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. I am also very aware of my need for connection with the church and Christ through the sacrament of Holy Communion.

    I am seeking God’s will in all of this, and I ask for the prayers of Ben and all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have tried a second career as a public school teacher. I earned my teaching certification and taught for 4 years. But the last district I taught in, has cut 6000 teaching jobs within the past 3 years (including mine). I am 59 years old, and probably will not be able to continue paying my mortgage much longer. I do not want charity from the church, and I do not want people to feel sorry for me. But I do think people need to know that there are many deeply committed, walking wounded Christians standing on the edge of the church. And frankly, I think reform of the church might emerge from someone on the edge like me. I doubt it will come from someone who is dependent on our current system.

    • “But I do think people need to know that there are many deeply committed, walking wounded Christians standing on the edge of the church. And frankly, I think reform of the church might emerge from someone on the edge like me. I doubt it will come from someone who is dependent on our current system.”

      Thank you for stating that, Holly! I have had my eye on the Wesleyan denomination–their verbage is excellent.

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