Who's "in" and Who's "out"
by Jim Wehde

The following was posted by Jim Wehde on the House Church Discussion List on 6/7/05.

The lesson to be learned from history is that ANY human institution of
whatever size, from National Government to Mega-Church to neighborhood
chapel to school club to, yes, home church, down to single family,
even down to one-on-one friendship, has only one kind of member...the
sinful person.

Your desire to be a part of a body that is closest to His heart
is put in your heart by God...it is the hunger for His kingdom.  This
desire plays out in a nearly infinite number of ways...Christians
attempting to elect a "righteous" government.  Big "Churches"
gathering all those who believe exactly alike into the same group, and
then calling themselves the "most" correct.  Even those who gather for
the purpose of creating THE New Testament church, closer to the truth
than the others.

But the "righteous" government, um, isn't so righteous, is as
vulnerable to the temptations of money, power and influence as every
government in history.  The big "church" dots all its doctrinal "i's"
and crosses all it's theological "t's"...but then is blindsided by
some underlying sin of jealousy, or manipulative leadership, or division.

And, yes, the brand new New Testament church, closer to God's heart
than all the rest (?), closes its eyes to John 17, because to take
John 17 to heart means admitting my greatest witness to the world is
my love for and unity with other Christians, whomever where ever they are.

Now, I don't know exactly the lesson God is teaching humankind through
all its failed trusts in itself.  But I do know one thing He is
teaching me:  that, if God is building His kingdom and His church, it
must be impossible for me to clearly see it with my eyes or define it
by saying who's "in" and who's "out".  The parable of the wheat and
the tares must mean at least this.

Understanding what God is doing involves humility and security.
Humility in understanding that I don't necessarily have it more right
than all those around me...my understanding is clouded by sin.
Security in that, despite that sin, God accepts me, and loves me.  And
accepts (fully) and loves each of those that are His.  And, if my
understanding is different from yours, it's not necessarily because
either one of us is in error, but that both of us are fallible, sinful
human beings.

This humility and security will help grant me the eyes to see His
church, as He is building it, without paying attention to
organizations, or man-made structures.  And it will be the basis for
my relationships with all believers, even those who differ from me.

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