More of a Church Than We Have Now

As I was clearing up so old files in my office the other day, I came across a quote I had cut out of a Leadership Journal almost 25 years ago now. I remember being captured by this quote when I first read it and it is as fresh and true today as it was then.

“If the church were to lose its hierarchy, its clergy, its vast collection of buildings, its stores of learning amassed over the centuries, even the text of its sacred books, and had to face the world with nothing but the living presence of the Risen Jesus and its mission to proclaim the Good News to all nations and people, it would be no less a church than the church of Peter and Paul was. Perhaps it might be more of a church than it is now.â€

These words were written by Father John McKenzie, a Catholic scholar back in the 1970s, which gives rise to a few of questions: First, why would someone who says such things still travel with the title ‘Father’? And second, why didn’t anybody listen to him? And finally, why didn’t I actually believe these words when I first read them? They would have saved me years of grief. For I have found out in the years since that it is exactly true. Until we give up all the false places where we’ve tried to control God’s people, we won’t know the reality of the church of Jesus Christ as she has existed down through time outside the walls of our own institutions.

I guess it is easier to speak words of that ring of truth, or jot them down in journals, than to actually heed them.

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18 Comments
  1. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 4:25 am

    So, what is the Good News? Obviously it is not being preached in the churches in such a way that it really is good news to the hearer. If it really is good news, it doesn’t need much theology to back it. All it really needs is a person who has experienced it and wants to tell someone else about it.

    Again, what really is the Good News? It must have something to do with the “living presence of the Risen Jesus” That may be more important than what someone says the good news is.

  2. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 5:06 am

    One thing i have noticed in this grace of God thing,is as we become honest and grow before God’s grace titles,reputations,sins of all kinds, whatever…slowly fades away..but in the meantime we can look pretty darn hypocritical,thank God thats forgiven too…and that we grow in His grace,mercy and timing…quite frankly we can all be pretenders at times for any length of time…!Dom

  3. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 7:25 am

    So, what is the Good News? Obviously it is not being preached in the churches in such a way that it really is good news to the hearer. If it really is good news, it doesn’t need much theology to back it. All it really needs is a person who has experienced it and wants to tell someone else about it.

    Again, what really is the Good News? It must have something to do with the “living presence of the Risen Jesus” That may be more important than what someone says the good news is.

  4. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 8:03 am

    I think Billy Graham’s wife had either a quote or a book called, “Just give me Jesus”! God bless you all.

    –J

  5. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 8:06 am

    One thing i have noticed in this grace of God thing,is as we become honest and grow before God’s grace titles,reputations,sins of all kinds, whatever…slowly fades away..but in the meantime we can look pretty darn hypocritical,thank God thats forgiven too…and that we grow in His grace,mercy and timing…quite frankly we can all be pretenders at times for any length of time…!Dom

  6. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 11:03 am

    I think Billy Graham’s wife had either a quote or a book called, “Just give me Jesus”! God bless you all.

    –J

  7. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 11:52 am

    I posted this quote on my blog. Good stuff!

    Peace
    Geo

  8. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 12:24 pm

    So true…we see these words and they resonate, but to live them out is another story. Sometimes it does take “years of grief” before the truth of false systems hits home. Experience is the best teacher! While we are still steeped in the system and it seems to work for us, words like Mr. McKenzie’s seem idealistic and avant-garde (which interestingly means literally “leading the battle”).

    How interesting to find this post just after reading the headline news, where I found this:
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/06/churches.closed.christmas.ap/index.html

    A national controversy about canceling church services on the 25th. Maybe they are on to something…

    Jean

  9. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    I posted this quote on my blog. Good stuff!

    Peace
    Geo

  10. Anonymous December 7, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    So true…we see these words and they resonate, but to live them out is another story. Sometimes it does take “years of grief” before the truth of false systems hits home. Experience is the best teacher! While we are still steeped in the system and it seems to work for us, words like Mr. McKenzie’s seem idealistic and avant-garde (which interestingly means literally “leading the battle”).

    How interesting to find this post just after reading the headline news, where I found this:
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/06/churches.closed.christmas.ap/index.html

    A national controversy about canceling church services on the 25th. Maybe they are on to something…

    Jean

  11. Totila December 7, 2005 at 5:32 pm

    I think that we are all much more like Caiaphas than we realize, who prophesied concerning Jesus, not knowing what he was saying. It just goes to prove once again that this is all about God and not about us.

  12. Totila December 7, 2005 at 5:35 pm

    BTW, I like the new look.

  13. Totila December 7, 2005 at 8:32 pm

    I think that we are all much more like Caiaphas than we realize, who prophesied concerning Jesus, not knowing what he was saying. It just goes to prove once again that this is all about God and not about us.

  14. Totila December 7, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    BTW, I like the new look.

  15. Steve December 8, 2005 at 10:31 am

    But even if they gave all that stuff up, they would still have to be released from the residue still in their heads. At least for me that is taking a while.

    It only took 25 years for you to grasp the impact of his so true words. I guess it takes a little time for us all to travel from Egypt to the promise land. I think of how many former slaves, after the civil war, found freedom so difficult.

    The good thing about it is that nothing past, present or future will prevent Father from setting us free.

  16. Steve December 8, 2005 at 1:31 pm

    But even if they gave all that stuff up, they would still have to be released from the residue still in their heads. At least for me that is taking a while.

    It only took 25 years for you to grasp the impact of his so true words. I guess it takes a little time for us all to travel from Egypt to the promise land. I think of how many former slaves, after the civil war, found freedom so difficult.

    The good thing about it is that nothing past, present or future will prevent Father from setting us free.

  17. Becki December 8, 2005 at 4:02 pm

    JESUS CHRIST is the Pattern….everything else pales in comparison…Paul fought the good fight….perfection…no he never attained it, but he kept striving after the Pattern….relationship with JESUS CHRIST, not a religion, not man’s ideas, but intimate relationship with CHRIST….all who penned GOD’S WORD were flawed & not unlike us….GOD uses the foolish to confound the wise….allow GOD to use you in whatever capacity HE chooses, & embrace HIM & HIS Abundant Life!!! We are to be the Light in a world of darkness, humbly & meekly executed moment to moment with GOD’S help, through His Holy Spirit. Be encouraged because the Lord & Savior Himself loves you today, right where you are!!!

  18. Becki December 8, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    JESUS CHRIST is the Pattern….everything else pales in comparison…Paul fought the good fight….perfection…no he never attained it, but he kept striving after the Pattern….relationship with JESUS CHRIST, not a religion, not man’s ideas, but intimate relationship with CHRIST….all who penned GOD’S WORD were flawed & not unlike us….GOD uses the foolish to confound the wise….allow GOD to use you in whatever capacity HE chooses, & embrace HIM & HIS Abundant Life!!! We are to be the Light in a world of darkness, humbly & meekly executed moment to moment with GOD’S help, through His Holy Spirit. Be encouraged because the Lord & Savior Himself loves you today, right where you are!!!

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