Friday, October 07, 2005

On Critiquing the Church

In her essay, "The Fiction Writer and His Country," Flannery
O'Connor quoted Wyndham Lewis as saying, "If I write about a hill
that is rotting, it is because I despise rot." She uses this quote
to explain that when she (and others) write about the ills of society,
it is not because they rejoice in these ills. Rather, it is because
they despise these ills and seek to change them. The same is true for
those of us in leadership in the church. If we love the church we must
speak of the ills and errors within her. But we must also make clear
that we do so not because we want to defame the church, but because we desire the purity of the church- because we, like our Master, are willing to spend and be spent for the purification of the Church (Eph 5:26-27). "Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Prov 27:5-6a). We must not hide our eyes from error in our midst. But we must speak in love, seeking redemption remembering Whose Bride this is.

(BTW: O'Connor's essay, "The Fiction Writer and His Country", can be read with much profit thinking of parallels for the church and its pastors.)

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