Church ruins

An unbroken Church

Lots of folks believe the Church is broken these days. Some of the words they use to describe it: messy, a failure, irrelevant, archaic, and more along this line. And those descriptions come from people who identify themselves as Christians.

I don’t know what church they’re talking about, but it’s certainly not the Church founded by Christ. After all, he speaks of his Church as a spotless bride, a pure virgin waiting for her beloved to take her to the wedding feast.

Sure, men are flawed. Men have failed. Men have used God’s gifts in perverted and sinful ways. But the Lord’s Church is unbroken because it is founded upon Christ. The Church doesn’t rise and fall with sinners. It triumphs because of Christ. The Church isn’t made by men and can’t be destroyed by men. The Church is animated by Christ.

Those who think the Church is broken have truly only discovered their own brokenness. They are broken by the sin of pride and selfishness, the sins that beset all men. Quite easily, they project their own sins upon the Church, claiming that there’s no right way to worship, no perfect way to follow God, no way to overcome the brokenness. And in the latter, they are right: there is no way that men can overcome their brokenness. Instead, they must be overcome by God.

The Spirit of the Lord still leads his Church. Christ said quite plainly that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his bride. The Church isn’t broken, men are.

Ten Shekels and a Shirt

“Ten Shekels and a Shirt” by Paris Reidhead. Playing time = 51:15. Click here to listen (mp3).

This now-famous sermon was preached in the mid-1960’s by the Rev. Paris Reidhead, a New York pastor. The text of the sermon is taken from Judges 17-18.

I first heard this sermon when I was in college. It is a message of true transformation. Instead of preaching a so-called gospel of self-centeredness, we should proclaim salvation for God’s glory. This is one of the most insightful and moving sermons I’ve heard; everyone should hear it.

You may read more about the sermon and a transcript of it here. It is my understanding that the audio recording and the transcript are both in the public domain.