“The church is not our creation. It is not our business. We are not called upon to manage it. It is not there for us to advance our careers in it. It is not there for our own success. It is not a business. The church, in fact, was never our idea in the first place. No, it is not the church we need to rethink.
Rather, it is our thoughts about the church that need to be re-thought. It is the church’s faithfulness that needs to be reexamined. It is its faithfulness to who it is in Christ, its faithfulness in living out its life in the world, that should be occupying us.
The church, after all, is not under our management but under God’s sovereign care, and what He sees as health is very often different from what we imagine its health to be. The church, let us remember, is called the ‘church of God’ (Gal. 1:13; 1 Cor. 15:9).
Churches are ‘the churches of Christ’ (Rom. 16:16) because they are His, bought by His precious blood. Christ not only constituted the church (Matt. 16:18), but God has given us the blueprint for its life in Scripture.
What we need to do, then, first and foremost, is to think God’s thoughts after Him, think about the church in a way that replicates His thoughts about it. We need to ask ourselves how well, or how badly, we are realizing our life in Christ in the church, how far and how well churches stand as the outposts of the kingdom of God in our particular culture.”
–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 222-223.