I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. — Mahatma Gandhi
Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else. — Anne Rice
Quotes like the ones above are often used, even by pastors and churches, to illustrate that Christians are bad, hypocritical people and are driving good, kind unbelievers away from the faith. While I don’t doubt for a moment that Christians behave poorly and act hypocritically (we are all still sinners, saved by grace, but sinners nonetheless), the reasoning is often that people can simultaneously love Christ and hate the church (and/or Christians).
Pastor Timothy Hammons has an excellent post over at his blog that addresses that very topic:
As a Christian, we must realize that we are no longer members of the realm called: the world. We have become members of the Kingdom of Heaven, and that means we are automatically at odds with the world. This is a wonderful reality for us in the long run, but in the short run, it means that we will suffer persecution and hatred from the world.
Because the world first hated Christ. If we just look at the number of times that John talks about how Jesus was not received, or rejected or hated or threatened with death, we see that the world absolutely despises our Savior. The rejection is complete. I know that there are those who like to say things like, “Well, I love Jesus Christ but cannot stand Christians.”
This is an out and out lie. Jesus said that if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments, and His commandments are that we love one another, i.e., fellow believers. So to reject Christians, is to reject Christ. To reject Christ, is to reject the Father. Welcome to the realm of the world.
However if we are of Christ, then we to love one another because the world will hate us. We need to stick together as believers and encourage one another.
The whole article is worth a read.
3 thoughts on “You Can’t Love Jesus and Hate the Church”
Thanks for the shout out. 🙂
It is unfortunate when Christians can’t stand each other. It seems to turn the admonition “do unto others as you would have them do to you” on its head. And it certainly doesn’t bring justice to “they will know we are Christians by our love”. I admit I’ve felt much anger toward Reformed Christians because they tend to be, in my experience, judgemental and nasty. Finding your blog was actually a blessing, and an answer to a fist-waving moment when I told God I would trust Reformed folks when he showed me just ONE that was a reasonable human being. Perhaps Anne Rice should do the same. I find that God answers my ultimatums in the funniest ways.
This is a refreshing viewpoint in a world in which Christians seem constantly to be under fire — either for not doing enough, or for doing too much. One of the complaints my father has voiced concerning many contemporary Christian authors is that they too often take pot shots at Christians in general, and at the Church as a whole – a bit like hanging her undergarments out for the world to see. The Church is the Bride of Christ, and as such, should be lifted up, not torn down.
My Dad and I agree with Francis Schaeffer and others who contend that much of the problem with the Church’s reputation today lies in the fact that there are so many within the visible church that are in all likelihood not members of the invisible Church at all. We cannot expect grace of those who have neither understood, nor received grace themselves.
Apart from our testimony concerning Christ, the test of faith we are given most often in Scripture is that of love; first for the Lord, then for our brothers and sisters, and finally, for the world. Obedience follows as a consequence of love.