Does the Church Have an Identity Crisis?
I would answer yes to that question. Two weeks ago, we began a study of the book of 1 Corinthians on Sunday evening. The church in Corinth was known for division. And yet Paul keeps reminding them of their unity in Christ. I think that by not recognizing the unity we have in Christ is where we see an identity crisis in the church today.
I want to share a brief portion from that sermon with you today for your consideration:
Let us not forget that we are the church first and foremost. We tend in American Christianity to think of ourselves as Christians first and as the church second. Let us get back to a more biblical way of thinking of our corporate identity in Christ. We are His body. We are the church. We have been called out of the world and into the church. The Christian who thinks they do not need a local body has an identity crisis. They do not understand what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means to have a covenantal relationship with a body of believers.
As a believer in Christ how do you think of yourself first? As a Christian? Or as the church, the body of Christ? We tend to think individualistically with our cultural mindset instead of corporately. And yet loneliness is becoming more and more of an issue in the modern world. Technology, which was to bring us together, has tended to keep us more separate.
1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews and Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
How connected are you and I to the body of believers to which we belong? Is that unity that Paul speaks of a reality in our lives? Or do we act a little dis-jointed or dis-connected? Do we have an identity crisis?
May we seek and long for opportunities for corporate worship, fellowship, and prayer as we labor together as one body. Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
The church? Or a Christian? Both are true. Both are a part of our identity in Christ. Salvation is individual and corporate. We are not saved because we belong to a church. Christ redeems us as individuals and brings us into His Kingdom and calls us to be a part of His body.
While we do well in many ways at looking to self and what Christ has done for us personally, we also need to realign our thoughts to embrace the corporate nature of our faith.