The Perfect Church
Do you believe there’s a perfect church (local congregation) somewhere here on earth?
If you do, you’ll likely find yourself in one of two mindsets:
- thinking you’ve found the perfect church in the particular congregation you’re a member of;
- or you’ll continually be on a restless journey trying to find it.
In both cases you’d be wrong.
There is no perfect church
You’re not in the perfect church and you’ll never find one.
Consider this statement from the Westminster Confession of Faith:
“The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error;” — Chapter 25, Paragraph 5
It’s important to remember because it keeps us humble
Aside from the historical importance of this statement—correcting the Roman Catholic belief that the church cannot err—I believe there’s further importance; it helps keep us humble.
When you realise there is no perfect church:
- it will help you relate to your local church-through disagreements—in love and humility. You still may leave a particular church but you’ll be less quick to “jump ship” and “church hop”.
- it will help you relate to the wider body of Christ—despite disagreements—in love and humility. You may not all partner together in everything, but you’ll be more inclined to be as united as you possibly can.
A joke to illustrate the point
This is the second joke I’ve stumbled upon recently on the issue of division in the church. Laugh. Then cry.
A man was stranded on a deserted Pacific island for years. Finally one day a boat comes sailing into view, and the man frantically waves and draws the skipper’s attention. The boat comes near the island and the sailor gets out and greets the stranded man.
After a while the sailor asks, “What are those three huts you have here?”
“Well, that’s my house there.”
“What’s that next hut?” asks the sailor.
“I built that hut to be my church.”
“What about the other hut?”
“Oh, that’s where I used to go to church.”
May we walk in humility, looking to that day when Christ presents “the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing…holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27)