The Loveless, Incestuous, Powerful Modern Church

“The modern church is nothing like the early church!”

is the common lament amongst Christianity nowadays. And I see where they are coming from. Comparing our local bodies with the dynamic movement in the book of Acts is like comparing a paper airplane with an F-23.

Where’s the power, holiness, self-sacrifice, radical giving, etc. etc. etc?!?!

So much heresy, apostasy and stupid-sy in our weak fragmented modern expression of the body of Christ.

But I also say: Not so fast my friend.

In the beginning, the early church had issues. Serious soul-boggling issues:

A few years into this Jesus movement Paul had to write an epistle to the church of Corinth because they were divided by doctrinal teams, blatantly immoral, puffed up in knowledge, lawsuiting brothers, heterodox in teaching, and generally loveless (1 cor 1:10-13, 1 cor 5:1-13, 1 cor 13:1-10).

Get this: Even a ridiculously nasty case of incest was breaking out in the Corinthian church (1 Cor 5:1). And West Virginia wasn’t even a state back then.

You really think your church is that bad off now?

The Colossian church had a goofy case of New Age angel worship permeating it (Colossians 2:18). So much so, it would have made Oprah Wan Kenobi proud.

The Galatian church had some legalistic Jewish leaders propagating new laws that would have garnered high fives from Westboro Baptist Church (Galatians 2:11-16). Just a couple of years removed from pure apostolic teaching and the gospel was already “perverted” in Galatia (Galatians 1:6-10).

The apostle John had to write against the sneaky theology of Gnosticism, a crazy movement that would make Harold Camping and illuminati conspiracy theorists rejoice (1 John 4:1-3)

There were even serious racial tensions in the earliest forms of the church. Tensions it took the apostle Peter a few years to personally grope with and smooth out (Acts 6:1-7).

With all that hot mess, the historical church has survived and many cases thrived.

Nothing much has changed.

The church back then, and your church now, is still the means by which God wishes to install His invincible Kingdom. He delights to use broken, stumbling, petty folk and make them graceful ambassadors of His eternal purposes.

His historical and paradoxical beloved church is full of scoundrels like us. Blood spattered grace bonds us together in a fellowship greater than our foibles.

Sure, the modern church is weak.

But most assuredly, the modern church is powerful.

His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9)


Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

22 thoughts on “The Loveless, Incestuous, Powerful Modern Church”

  1. Wow! They did have problems, didn’t they? Seems to me, maybe that’s encouragement for a lot of people to stay in churches that are having problems and make things better instead of leaving. Certainly, there are times when it’s more appropriate to escape a bad situation, but what if you can be part of a good change? Food for thought.

  2. The Corinthian church even had cases of not believing in the Resurrection… (1 Cor 15)… Yet God loved them so much that he poured spiritual gifts upon them, and even those spiritual gifts they abused! Unbelievable!

    Where is the “like” button, I wanted to click “like” ? 🙂

  3. Attaboy. I’ve said similar things for some time now. In the PCUSA, the denomination under whose rubric I serve loves to draw lines in the sand on the basis of “historic orthodoxy.”

    “If we just get back to earlier days of a more faithful church…” Blah, blah, blah says I. You mean the church of the flat earth and black slaves? That church? You mean the church of apartheid and the Spanish Inquisition and the surfer church? That church?

    We’ve definitely had shining moments of which we can be pleased and proud. But much of our history has been stumbling over one another in an effort to out-faith or out-maneuver the other. God loves us either way.

    Go figure.

    1. The good old days are figments of our utopic imaginations. It was less than 20 years ago my traditional stream (SBC) officially renounced and apologized for its historic stance on slavery. Go figure indeed.

  4. Vivid way to wake the up oft-read scripture and show us that truly, God is alive and continues to work. thanks! (thanks for visiting my blog, as well)

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