Is this something that should concern us? Should we take any of the accusations or insults to heart? Should we look to see if there is any element of truth to what is said?
Criticism of this institution has been popular ever since I can remember, and probably before. Being raised as a Catholic, I was criticized for worshiping idols.
The Charismatic Movement of the late '60s had its beginnings within the Catholic and Episcopalian traditions, but quickly spread beyond mainline churches. Charismatics began to criticize denominational churches for their "deadness." The rise of "full-gospel," non-denominational churches became front-page news as independent, self-proclaimed teachers would start a new church.
I was one of those types.
I could see all sorts of things "wrong" with the church and the way things were being done, and I did not want to be a part of anything that was "wrong."
The only thing "wrong" was the hubris of it all. Mine, and those like me.
Today it is fashionable to criticize the way we "do church." Marketing ploys to get people in, music, programs, theater, sermons, etc. are all targets of the critics.
There is plenty to criticize. Little, if any, of what we see today resembles anything that can be found in the Bible. Most Christians claim that the Bible is their guide for faith, morals, and practice. Yet, when it comes to the institution of the church, the Bible is no longer the guide book.
Yes, we can find justification for almost everything we do. There are verses for sermons, verses for singing, verses for praying, verses for taking money, etc. But, there is no composite nor complete passage giving us procedures for our gatherings.
That is probably as it should be. We are, after all, only human; and our gatherings are made up of humans.
While I could point to the fact that humans are fallible and capable of foibles, I would rather point to the fact that we are each different, unique, and made in the image of God.
Jesus said that He would build His church.
It is easy to say that what passes for church is not of the Lord. But, is that the truth?
Is God not omnipotent? Is He limited by the weakness of humans? Can God not take care of His own?
When Doeg, the Edomite hurled curses at David, the man after God's own heart said, "Hurt him not. It could be that God has sent him."
Even that which could have been seen as "wrong" might have been the work of God.
So, I will leave both the Church and its critics alone, and not criticize either.