"What would Jesus think of our churches if he walked in and sat down for a service?" Have you ever heard someone ask this question?
I’ve heard from charismatics who don’t think the church is showing enough passion.
I’ve heard it from non-denominational Christians who are concerned with “dead religion”.
I’ve heard it from reformed folks who are pretty sure Jesus had a much higher regard for “TULIP” than is currently displayed in American Evangelicalism.
This question has been asked so many times and in so many places that it has lost its weight. However, even if this question had any semblance of weight to it is this the right question to be asking? In my opinion I believe that this question is destructive to the proper mindset of the church even in its original weight and glory.
The reason I believe this question gets it all wrong is because it takes very little estimation of the true nature of the church. In almost every case where I have heard someone ask this question they have done so in a manner that is seemingly derogatory toward the institution of the church as they currently see it.
But what does the Bible say about the church?
Countless times the authors of the new testament take a wholly different approach to overseeing and shepherding the church of God. Indeed, Paul describes the gathered church as the actual body of Christ and sees the corporate expression of God's people in sacramental worship as synonymous with the actual presence of Christ. If I'm doing a somewhat decent job of explaining myself right now (which I'm sure is up for debate) you will probably see where I am going with this.
When people ask the question about Jesus showing up to church they are assuredly ignorant of the reality that, in a covenantal and representative way, Jesus is showing up. Moreover, when the church gathers in corporate worship on the Lord's day they are, in a covenantal and representative way, Jesus.
The tragic irony is that understanding this profound mystery would surely produced the desired affects of those who ask the question we have been discussing.
Food for thought.