What Is This Thing Called Church?

I have been a member of one church or another for over 52 years. Each had its benefits and each had its drawbacks. Each was supremely uplifting…at times…and each was deflating…at others. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? And they said, Some say thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build this church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ Matthew 16: 13-18. KJV

We christians take a great store in church. We spend much of life there. We believe that we were commissioned by Christ to gather in churches. We donate our money and our time and our talents to ensuring that the church succeeds. We gather with people like us. Fundamentalist and Progressives are very much alike in this regard. Where is the outsider going to fulfill the commandments of Jesus to gather together and await his return?

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