(Thought 3 Jun 14)
Précis – a thought questioning the oft quoted line of orthodox Christian thought.
Why do we insist on claiming the God is working your purpose out thro the church? All the evidence is to the contrary. The history of the Christian church from the point it became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine in 4C shows that we have kicked seven bells out of each other in the name of ensuring proper theology, we have massacred ‘quote unquote’ infidels, the Spanish Inquisition tortured & burned fellow Christians, the western church have embarked on crusades against Christians who didn’t share exactly the same beliefs and in general we’ve shown remarkable little love to anyone. When we see missionaries trying to evangelise parts of Oceania and Africa in 19C empire and disease inevitably followed; and by the end of 19C might it not be better to see God crying at how much the wider church distorted a faith in a man who revelled his/her loving nature?
In 20C we start to see some of that missing love starting to be demonstrated by the great aid agencies – most set up by deeply Christian people; but with the best will in the world that involves individual Christians NOT the organised churches. A better way of thinking might be to assume that God’s aspirations for his/her creation (see the second post on 29 May) are despite the actions of the church NOT through it!!!
Worst of all, if God is acting through the church then he/she is implicated in the evil done by the church throughout history. You can’t have it both ways. Personally I believe that the evil done by the churches is contrary to the nature of a loving God so cannot accept the ideas that he/she/it is working through the church at all. Full stop.