The Church universal and local deserves more respect than it gets on my news feed. Most of the criticism seems to come from Christians, who operate outside and independently of any local church. With all the churches in America, I can’t help but wonder if the problem is more with the critic than the Church.
If a man cannot find a suitable church within driving distance of his home, the real problem may be that he is unwilling to support the church with his time and finances. Should not our concern be more for what we can contribute to the church than what the church has to offer to us? The more spiritual we become, the more supportive we should be to a local congregation.
Paul could be critical of the church in his letters; however, these were usually churches he founded, which gave him the apostolic authority to correct. Certainly, he did not withdraw himself in his disapproval, even though he opened himself up to less appreciation. Paul’s reproofs and exhortations were expressed in the context of a deep care and concern for the churches.
There are many who seem to think that they speak with apostolic authority without really carrying the credentials of an apostle. Often times having no experience in church leadership, they are limited to pontificating from their computers.
One problem may be that censors expect too much out of a local church, especially the pastor because he may not be preaching what the fault-finder considers is the correct Gospel.
I have spoken in hundreds of churches in my years of ministry and I am friendly with scores of pastors, often having stayed in their homes. The vast majority of them I have found to be dedicated men of God.
People have an obligation to study the Bible on their own. The pastor should not have to spoon feed his people. Jeremiah condemned certain pastors, but Jeremiah had unquestionable credentials of a prophet; whereas, many are trying to act like prophets without the prophetic anointing.
I had a lot more sympathy for the churches and their problems after I served as a pastor of a church for about 15 years. I founded the church on the principles of the moral government of God, the doctrine of holiness and encouraged a bold public witness. We had dedicated members but we also had the same problems and sins that were in the established churches, which I initially thought were not getting the job done or were as doctrinally sound as I thought that they should be.