Imperfect Members, Perfect Body: an email from a friend

Recently I wrote a post titled Industrial Christianity. My intention was to get all of us to ask why we do what we do, specifically asking how much our industrialized worldview impacts our church practices. The response I got for this post was wonderful. I really appreciate everyone’s feedback. I found it helpful and encouraging. I got one email in response to this post that I felt dealt with a lot of the questions/issues I have been thinking about, and I’m sure others have been as well. For this reason I thought it may be advantageous to share my responses in a series of posts dealing with each of the three points that my friend addressed in his email.

Third Installment: Imperfect Members, Imperfect Body

As long as there are people leading and attending a church, there will always be issues with whatever one wants to make issues over

This is the last point from my friend’s email that I would like to share. This is something I hear very often when I discuss the church with people: the church is made of imperfect people therefore it will never be perfect. Do I agree with this point? Completely. Do I think it is therefore unnecessary to seek to more accurately fulfill what Christ called us to be as his body, his bride? Absolutely not! I don’t think anyone really thinks it is a good enough excuse to continue “business as usual” when we see clearly that what we are doing is wrong.

I know that God uses imperfect people. Like whenever God uses me, as well as imperfect groups of people to accomplish His plans, but we should never settle for imperfection on the basis that we will never achieve perfection as long as we live this life. We should also never settle for disunity, if there are issues between folks, they should be discussed and dealt with in a loving way, communication should always be open and people should always be prepared to learn from each other.

Now this may seem knit-picky, but I must also add that we should be careful in how we understand “people leading … a church.” It is not just that I want to say that people aren’t the leaders of the Church, but that by thinking that people are the leaders we underestimate our ability to be great in Christ. Christ is our one and only head, he is the only leader of the church. How does this change anything I have said? Because when we understand that Christ leads us we are empowered, we see the fullness of our potential because it is all rooted in Christ! Christ in us can do amazing things, so we never have to settle for human imperfection and disunity; we can know that the we can grow closer to the Father, through the mediation of the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit working through us and our brothers and sisters, because NONE of this is up to imperfect humans, but entirely up to the perfect triune God! The more we see the headship of Christ, the less defeated we will feel and the more we will be used by God. My friend knows that it is all God; he says:

It’s amazing how God continues His work in spit of us all……it’s all about His grace.

It IS all about His grace. If He weren’t the one to build the house then we would all be laboring in vain, yes?

I would like to end this series by thanking my friend for his thoughtful and encouraging email. He is a man that I consider a mentor and value his opinions very highly, he loves God and people and has dedicated his life to sharing the love of Christ! I hope I have been true to his intent as far as I have quoted him and I hope that he finds my response as encouraging as I found his initial email.

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

4 responses to “Imperfect Members, Perfect Body: an email from a friend

  • Alan Knox

    Dan,

    I loved your train of thoughts in this series, especially this last post. I agree that the church is drastically different when we live with Christ as the head, not just a figure head. We are imperfect, but with Christ as the head we should constantly and consistently be moving toward maturity.

    -Alan

  • Dan Allen

    Alan

    I don’t see how it would be possible NOT to mature when we recognize Christ as our head (could the recognition of Christ’s role be the maturing in itself?). thanks for the comment!

    -Dan

  • Fred

    Yesterday, I heard Andy Stanley speak about how there are certain tensions within a church or any organization that can’t and shouldn’t be solved. Instead, they should be leveraged for greater good. If we were perfect people, there would be no tensions, but because we’re not there will always be areas of disagreement and conflict. I think the key to living with those unresolved tensions is remembering that Christ is the one in charge, and that our unity is in him, not in our agreement on everything.

  • Dan Allen

    Fred

    I think that “remembering that Christ is the one in charge, and that our unity is in him” is what unity is all about and what Scripture points to as the source of unity.

    Thanks for the comment!

    -Dan

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