“I have my truth!”
Who hasn’t heard that statement over and over? When someone tells me, “I have my truth, you have yours,” I want to ask, “Is that a true statement?” Is truth a philosophy, or is truth a person? The bottom line is, what have the “my truth” people done with the Son of God who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)?
I keep running into these “my truth” people. They are also the people who say, “I’m religious, but I don’t attend church.” When I am told, “I worship God my way, you worship God yours,” I am likely to reply, “Let’s pray and tell God what you just said.”
Then there is the statement “I believe in a higher power, but I’m not religious.” To that I will usually reply, “I’m not religious either. Religion is humanity’s attempt to reach up to God. Christian faith is about my ‘yes’ to the One who came down from the Father to redeem us.”
Then there is the person who tells me, “I can pray to God anytime; I don’t need to go to a church to do that.”
So I reply, “What is the church? Church is not simply a building on the corner. Church is the body of Christ. If I want to be free of the church, I am saying that I want to be free of His body. And if I am free of the body, what then? If the hand is cut free of the body, what happens to the hand?”
The church is one body in Christ. No matter where believers gather in the world, they are together as one. That’s what we read in Romans 12:5: “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” When I declare my independence from the local church, I have declared my independence from the universal church, because we are told, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).
Recently a woman told me, “I have my church among online friends.” What she is saying is that she is part of a body of scattered parts. In which of those parts does God choose to dwell? Or, put another way, we are told, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Which of the scattered parts is the part that is baptized?
What is the church? We are told what it is: It is the company of redeemed people. Jesus is the head of that body, held together by Him (Ephesians 4:16). We don’t hold His body together; He does. And in this body the Holy Spirit dwells (Romans 8:9). We are going to have a difficult time asking the Holy Spirit to dwell in fractured and fragmented pieces of the body scattered here and there. First Corinthians 12:25 tells us that there should be no division in the body.
Recently I learned about a young millennial couple who have rediscovered the church. They found it to be a caring body, one for the other. They were drawn to a people who wanted to grow in their faith. Prior to that, they only occasionally attended a church service.
Now they have discovered where the Spirit of Christ dwells, and they are eager for more of what the Spirit offers them. They are finding it not in independence but in community — exactly as God designed the church and its members to be.