Jul 5, 2011

Why I think "Should I Stay or Should I Go" is asking the Wrong Question

The Clash had a hit song in the 80's "Should I Stay or Should I Go".

It seems that this song has become the anthem for many in the PC(USA) these days.

For those who are choosing to leave, they say that staying is not an option for them. That faithfulness to Jesus Christ compels them to depart from a church that is unfaithful and apostate.

For those who are choosing to stay, they say that it is faithfulness to Jesus Christ that compels them to stay.

In all these discussions, perhaps the question that needs to be asked most is, "Does unfaithfulness of some, even the majority, make the church of Jesus Christ unfaithful or apostate?"

Reading through the prophets of the Old Testament again these days reminds me that some of these prophets found themselves in the midst of a culture and a religious system that was entirely bankrupt. The prophets sometimes wonder if they are the only faithful ones left.

But I find it interesting that there was never a question of departure, because they understood that whether the religious system was faithful or unfaithful it was still God's.

Perhaps, it is arrogance to think that the church we find ourselves a part of is "my" church or "our" church that leads us to ask questions of departure.

Calvin, in his Institutes, talking about the cultural and spiritual mileu that the prophets found themselves in says:

There was nothing therefore to prevent their departure from them, but the desire of preserving the unity of the church. But if the holy prophets were restrained by a sense of duty from forsaking the church on account of the numerous and enormous crimes which were practiced, but by a few individuals, but almost by the whole nations - it is extreme arrogance in us, if we presume immediately to withdraw from the communion of a church where the conduct of all members is not compatible either with our judgment, or even with the Christian profession. (Institutes, IV, i.18).

The PC(USA), is just one of the many denominations. However, we know that our obedience and allegiance is never to a denominational institution but to Christ and to his church.

What if we spent more time and more energy in looking at the church in all its multitude of flavors and denominations as Christ's church?

What if instead of looking to start yet another denomination, we spent more time and energy in being faithful in the one Christ put us in?

I don't how to fix denominations. But I honestly believe that God can use me and us to impact our local church. I think God can use individuals to impact the local church to be more faithful.

Is it fantasy and wishful thinking to believe that by impacting one congregation at a time, God can impact the whole?

Well, then I am guilty of fanciful wishful thinking.

1 comment:

atpaine said...

On the mark. Preach it brother.