Churchianity


I am a believer in the church… both as a tangible community of faith and as an invisible entity, an arguably mystical organism of all believers, immersed in one spirit and one water. However, the very act of believing in the church suggests there are things that I strongly believe the church is not. There are things that the church is not, things it  can’t be, things it should not be. With that in mind, here are a few challenging quotes on the church and the Christian faith.
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The church works best not as a power center, rather as a countercultural community – in the world but not of it – that shows others how to live the most fulfilled and meaningful life on earth. In modern society that means rejecting the false gods of independence, success, and pleasure and replacing them with love for God and neighbor.
     -Philip Yancey, Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News?
In general, the churches, visited by me often on weekdays… bore for me the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola; they promoted thirst without quenching it.
                      -John Updike, A Month of Sundays

Mission work does not arise from any arrogance in the Christian Church; mission is its cause and its life. The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church; and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.             -Emil Brunner, The Word and the World

Let us now examine the religion of the Priest, whose language is, ‘Look to me; to me, in some of my formulas, to me in some of my developments,’ if I may use a favourite expression, ‘and be ye saved.’ In one of these he bids you to look to the Church; she, he alleges, is the directress to heaven, the sure way to eternal joy. ‘Hear the Church,’ he cries, and be happy

Such religion is Churchianity; it is not Christianity. Christianity means the religion where Christ is all; Churchianity, the religion where the Church is all. But what is this Church? let me ask. It is the company of believers, if it be the true Church; the company of the baptized, if it be the visible Church, made up of good and bad, of tares and wheat. But the whole Bible tells us that a church without Christ is a body without a head; a robe, without the Divine wearer; the richly-chased cup, but without the wine.

I cannot see that there is any more chance of being saved by a Church, than there is of being saved by a College, or by a Royal Exchange. There is no more connexion in the way of merit between the one and salvation, than there is between the other and salvation.                             -John Cumming, in sermon spoken in 1850

The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, not heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism – no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet. There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.              -Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations
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