Not too long ago I had a most interesting encounter as I walked through Uhuru park.
To give some background, I had been meditating on the expression of the Church on the earth in our day, but before proceeding, allow me to differentiate two meanings of the word church.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll use church with small ‘c’ in reference to the common usage of the word; “1: a building for public and especially Christian worship / 2: the clergy or officialdom of a religious body “ (Merriam-Webstar).
I will use Church with capital ‘C’ to refer to the body of Christ, community of those that have believed in Christ Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, and have been received by Him; becoming members of the many membered body that lives by the life of the head, Jesus Christ.
“….Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior….” (Eph 5:23)
“….no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church…” (Eph 5:29)
“….the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…” (col 1:24)
“….And he is the head of the body, the church…” (Col 1:18)
After a goose chase in the church system for the Church, I’ve become convinced that the Church exists, only it is found in the form I sometimes least expect – as a remnant that God has preserved for Himself. It was in this belief that as I passed Uhuru park I stopped at a point I found a group of men discussing the bible and debating the scriptures .
There was one prominent person in the center of the group that as I approached to take a seat (a bench to be more precise) was speaking very passionately about how people should come out of their churches as they were lodgings. According to him, the churches have done prostitution and so people should come out of their denominations. I had not sat there too long before I asked him a question, “where does one find the true Church after leaving their church?”. He went ahead to explain from the bible several things; ‘they baptize in the name of Jesus, not Father Son and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); they do not allow women to preach (1Tim 2:12); their women do not wear trousers. (no ref.).
After some back and forth in trying to explain my question more clearly, the gentleman got angry with me and started ignoring me claiming I was not interested in the answer but just wanted to argue for the sake of arguing. He either misunderstood my question or had a preset mind of what I was asking because he eventually told me where they meet on Sundays at a building in the center of town.
For sometime after that encounter, I was truly disturbed and disappointed on one hand and compassionate on the other. It had provided a glimpse into the sad state of affairs in some portion of Christendom, where we are all very passionate searching for God all the while not realizing the truth in Jesus’ words, “For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.(Luke 17:21)” and that Jesus Christ is expressed amongst us in the world in our day through His body, the Church and not the church.
The mystery of the ages where the manifold wisdom of God is made known to the powers in high places is through His body, the Church, not the church. The church that Jesus Christ is building , the one against which the gates of hell shall not prevail is His body, not the church. This Church I believe is alive and still under construction by the Head, till she comes to full stature, a bride ready for the groom.
I left the church to look for the Church, the city whose maker and builder is God (though I did not know that is what I was looking for then). For this reason, I’d not advise anyone to leave their church, but would urge all who desire to be part of God’s eternal purpose in His Son to differentiate between the church and the Church, better still ask the Head of the Church to reveal to them His body; in a sense to be able to discern His body.
This may seem a small matter, but these two are worlds apart and when caution is not taken church will smother the Church (another reason I left the church) as my friend so aptly puts it; Elitism: The Local Church is Killing the Body of Christ in Kenya-DPM.
The Church we are looking for is not a form, an alternative, but Christ expressed through His bride. Where is she to be found?
For the unveiling of the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.’