While the Church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has accomplished much over the millenia since the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, the Institutional Church, or what is often called the Visible Church, has become less & less effective, more & more splintered & marginalized that Christians have been leaving her hallowed walls in droves! Much of the reason for this is a common focus on the future hope of heaven rather than following our Lord's commands. In the hope of gaining some future utopian dream, many Christians tend to focus more on believing a certain set of man-made doctrines about the Son of God, rather than, as He commanded, loving Him & each other as ourselves!
The theme of 'us versus them' has been a common one as well among the whole of the Institutional Church! The notion that Jesus' return in Judgment, which is a Scriptural one, is yet to come in the future, means to the majority of Christians that Jesus' parable of the wheat & the tares is yet to be fulfilled; the tares ( wicked ones ) are to be allowed to grow together with the wheat ( the good ones ) until the Time of Harvest! Since these tares will be thrown into the Fire at that time, according to this paradigm the mission of the Institutional Church has not so much been one of redeeming the culture as in pulling those out of the culture ( whosoever will ) & saving them from the fires of hell & delivering their eternal souls!
Even among those who believe that the parable was fulfilled ( to completion? ) during the ministry of Jesus & the apostles, one may note a tendency still to view the world in somewhat the same way, as in that some are meant to perish while others are not! The Ministry of Reconciliation stands in opposition to this world-view, however, since we are not here to redeem souls for some future hope of heaven, but rather to redeem every aspect of our culture for the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father! It stands to reason, yes, that not all will accept this reconciliation, it being abundantly clear that, although this redemption & reconciliation has been accomplished ( remember, Jesus cried out on the cross, 'it is finished'! ), not all have, in the past, accepted it, or reconciled themselves to this glorious fact!
Fulfilled Reconciliation & Redemption, while in the greatest sense meaning that these are accomplished, does not in the universalistic sense mean that everyone is automatically 'all good'; this Redemption must be realized, this Reconciliation accepted, in order for them to have the desired effect! In other words, we can no longer few the world through the lens of 'us versus them'; we must treat everyone in such a way a to open their eyes to this Reality; as Ministers ( Agents ) of Reconciliation, we must show, through our storied lives, what the Creator has done in investing Himself in ( to ) His Creation, by Instituting a Marriage Covenant with Her!
We, as the Body of Christ, must & do stand in opposition to what is wrong & wicked, but we must realize that, while the actions themselves are wrong & wicked, the perpetrators are not beyond hope! If we do not treat them in the way that the Institutional Church traditionally has, promising a future hope of heaven if only they will confine themselves to her hallowed walls, so to speak, we may, though redeeming the culture, illuminate the correct pathway for them! By employing Jesus' philosophy of treating others as we would like to be treated, we may encourage the fulfilled reconciliation of the world!
The Church, whose Head is the Very Son of God, has been commissioned with the Ministry of Reconciliation! As such The Gospel has spread, in its Glory over the entire Creation; however, the Institutional Church, with her man-made doctrines & orthodoxy, has attempted, for centuries, to rehang the veil that was torn by separating between the sheep & the goats, discerning for themselves who is in & who is out, who is headed for heaven & who is headed for hell!
When the veil was torn, the separating wall between God & His Creation fell flat; there is now nothing between except for the walls the Institutional Church has reassembled in its place! Glory be to God, those separating walls are crumbling as people realize that not only does the Institutional Church not have a lock on orthodoxy, they hold no sway over the Kingdom of Heaven & the Blessings of the Creator's Presence! Although some of those who are beating the doors down to leave the Institutional Church are going a bit overboard, for various reasons, the movement ( revolution, really ) is being led by a return to Scriptural principles such as treating others as you want to be treated!
Viva la revelucion!
Charles Haddon Shank