In Luke 2 the angels tell the shepherds that the Person who was born in Bethlehem is the Savior, the Messiah. The first four books in the New Testament are called the Gospels. What is the gospel? Its definition is this: the teaching or revelation of Christ.: “it is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel”. synonyms: Christian teaching, Christ’s teaching, the life of Christ, the word of God, the good news, Christian doctrine, the New Testament
People are leaving the church in droves. Some are young and some are even preachers. Some are older, parents and grandparents even. What has happened? What is happening?
Is it because of how the church has treated people over the centuries? Are people today looking at the history of the “church” and not really seeing the message of Jesus reflected in the people who belong to the church? Actually…I think that both of these are true and it’s unfortunate for the church and for the people who see the church this way. But it’s not because of their view of the church it is because of the way that the church is seen in the world and in the media today. All of the bad parts are showing and they are being highlighted more and more. So much so that people can’t see the good which the church has done.
It’s kind of like a beautiful white shirt or a pair of pants that have been stained with blood and mud and dirt and oil and it seems that it will never really be clean again. The outline of the stains will still be there even if you use bleach on it. People have used the Bible to justify horrible things like slavery and subjugation and that has nothing to do with the message which Jesus taught. Just like the life of a man, it doesn’t matter how many good things he did in this life. If he slipped just once and did something bad, it will be that one mistake that will be remembered.
It is the same with governments or politicians and the church. One slip up or word, even if it was unintentional and not meant in the way it was received, will cloud the perception of those who hear it or have seen it. No amount of apologies or restitution will ever make things right again. This is the reason, in my opinion, that people in the past twenty years or so have turned away from the church and Christianity.
In Philippians 2, Paul begins with this: If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
The church, meaning the people in the church, should exemplify this teaching in the world today. Not showing the hate which has been associated with some in the church but exemplifying the love which Jesus taught about God.