I remember the first time we visited Chemuyil Cove, not too far south of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea… "the turquoise coast", it’s called… just the four of us walking through palm trees, emerging onto the white sands… crystal clear water… a breezy, sunny afternoon… if ever the word “idyllic” applied…wow.
But that was a lot of years ago. Try to get in to see it now. Pay for parking, lots of people, hotel/bar, hammocks and beer and loud music…
Now try to picture the way it was before humans abused it.
Assembly… His assembly.
Jesus' concept of "church" is so simple, yet so elegant and brilliant. It introduces principles like freedom of choice, liberty of conscience, fairness and respect for human rights. From its inception, it was designed to function in any societal framework, regardless of cultural antecedents or xenophobic tendencies. It never represents political clout or a threat to a society.
Church is a palpable manifestation of the earthly presence and activity of the kingdom of God. However, in and of itself, it is not the kingdom of God (the kingdom being much more than “church”).
We live His love and speak His message of salvation. We pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to do His part. People are converted to Christ and, thus, drawn to each other… which becomes a seminal moment for “church”.
We should strip “church” down to its sparest, essential meaning… identify what we absolutely “need” in order to have a Biblically functioning assembly… place a long list of “nice but not necessary” items in a separate box and exercise extreme will-power to make “church” as pristine as possible… a replica of the original one in Jerusalem.
Among other things, church was not intended to be “coextensive with society”, which calls into question if political engagement is correct or necessary for its survival. Churches of Jesus Christ are not measured by their strength to impose themselves on the masses. In fact, that points more to a root of error growing within.
It has always been imperative to present Biblical truth unadorned by any sort of nationalistic or political agenda, untainted by erroneous constructs for “kingdom of God”. A fair presentation of truth must be free of prejudice toward the society or people groups that we are addressing.
Try to picture “church” the way it was before humans abused it.