Commentary on "Community"
Day 6: Thursday, June 18, 2009
“We often speak of our church. We have many reasons to be proud of our church. On the other hand, we realize that our church is not perfect. We have invested a lot of ourselves, of our talents, time, energy, and money in the church and have good reasons to have a clear sense of ownership. However, in the final analysis, the church is not ours. It is God’s. And that makes a decisive difference.”
This should have been Sunday’s lesson. Alas, it should have been written very differently.
The author of this lesson simply cannot conceive of the church as anything other than the Adventist denomination. It is not “our” church or God’s “church”. WE ARE THE CHURCH! There is nothing more and nothing less. Christ is the head; we are the body. Period.
I was told back in the late 1970’s that an organizational guru took a look at General Motors. One of his conclusions: The bureaucracy of the company would last for months, even if the company itself ceased to exist. This story was told mostly as a joke, and we all laughed appropriately. Based on today’s headlines, it appears that the joke really was a prophecy. A once great company has been reduced to government hand-outs and the bankruptcy courts, and, apparently, its bureaucracy ran for years in spite of all the warning signs that there was serious trouble brewing.
I can’t help but think the same thing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Organizations are necessary evils, given the propensity of human beings to run amok, but the organization is most assuredly not the church. Once the organization begins to think of itself as the definition of church, its demise is assured.
On the other hand (and this is where the author tries to go, albeit with the wrong definition), if this week’s lesson had begun with Jesus, the Head of the body, then it would have laid an unshakeable foundation (please forgive the mixed metaphor) for the rest of the week.
All of the verses chosen are appropriate to the topic. They could have been used very effectively. Instead, that bad definition got in the way. And then, the Teacher’s Comments section limited itself to a Mrs. White quotation, the final nail in the coffin of human origin.
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