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.