When it doesn't do what was intended. The Early Church did. We read in the Book of Acts of a united fellowship, a place where believers assembled, encouraged one another, shared meals, discussed. They did more - a lot more - than most churches do today.
In the Early Church, no doubt the pastor didn't lord it over the flock. Members even sold their homes and possessions, with proceeds shared among the believers. The money was not used on hugely expensive buildings (used once or twice a week) but to fulfil everyone's needs. They were people with hearts for God, they had commitment and guts; they did what Jesus said - and it resulted in supernatural events which are rare in this generation.
What is a "Christian church" today?
Today's church has strayed too far from its beginnings. Too often the institution itself is the "bigger and better" goal, rather than providing for those who attend, and reaching the world outside. There is a seemingly endless desire to impress, as though the very size of the church indicates the faith of those attending. The church was not intended to be the vehicle for an ego trip. Jesus was/is the essence of humility; He rode into town on a donkey, remember?
People attend now probably because of Hebrews 10:25: "...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some..." There is guilt if they don't. The real crux of the matter is how does one define "church"?
The "how-to" is in Acts, but men today prefer their way to God's way. How arrogant! So what is now called a Christian church is not that at all. The size of the church is irrelevant.
However big a church building, the "non-churched" can match it with something bigger and even more impressive. There can be ten thousand people assembled in a church, but not one with the courage to hand out a gospel tract. The issue is not how big the church is, but how big are the hearts toward God of those who attend?
Rather than a building fund, wouldn't it be better to have a people fund? Let's hear: "Folks we'd like you to give generously today for Frances, who has three children. She is now a widow after the road accident, and she needs our help."
Is the church doing its job?
Partly. Today's church practises some of what the Bible says, such as visiting the sick, helping the poor, being charitable. Yet in the most important aspects, the church fails. The power of the Early Church is missing. "...having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away." 2 Timothy 3:5."
Jesus told the disciples to preach the gospel (He didn't mean inside a building), heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. They did, and so did the apostles after Jesus ascended.
In today's average church, Jesus' instruction is forgotten, carefully avoided, or put in the "too hard" basket.
However, John 14:12 says it is possible. Thank God for those who believe that - and act on it. Those following hearsay and human tradition say the supernatural is not for today. The denial to that is in Hebrews 13:8. There is no time limit.
Continued in Part 2. [I'm not in Private Messenger]
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