• Michael Haldas

Church


“The Church does not make claims about religion. It proclaims the truth of God, the truth of being human, and the nature of the world itself and all life within it.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“...the church can’t just be the place you go on Sundays—it must become the center of your life. That is, you may visit your house of worship only once a week, but what happens there in worship, and the community and the culture it creates, must be the things around which you order the rest of the week.” (Rod Dreher)

“Christians are members of a living organism called the church…This spiritual ability to see beneath the letter and perceive the truth continues in the life of the Church, unabated.” (David Kinnaman, Father Stephen Freeman)

“Church” literally means “those called out”…God desires to receive everyone into His Church, regardless of heritage, social class, or past sins, for all are one in Christ.” (OCPM 5/18/2017, Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 10:14-15)

“It was never in God’s revealed plan that the Christian churches would degenerate to the point that they would begin functioning as social clubs.” (A. W. Tozer)

“Christ’s Church is for all people who believe the Gospel and confess the Christian faith as they strive to repent of their sins and to resist their sinful passions, by which they expect to be tempted to their last breath. For this reason, the local parish church will never be a wholly safe place for sinners to deal openly with their temptations and sins, since it is always comprised of sinners (including its pastors and leaders) at all stages of spiritual growth and development. But groups can be found within the churches in which struggling Christians with sufficient spiritual maturity can “come out” to others about the realities of their lives...without apprehension or fear.” (Father Thomas Hopko)

“Unless the Church demonstrates, with holiness and humility, an imitation of the image of our Savior as servant, she will have become nothing but a religion that has lost its way. And the authentic witness of Christ will have been lost.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The point is that we are Christ’s tangible presence in history. We are His Body, the Church, maintained by the working of the Holy Spirit and ever growing toward deeper communion with Him.” (Dynamis 7/12/2015)

“We live in an age of sensory overload. Children in today’s society are frequently bombarded by noises and images. As more technology becomes available to children at a continually younger age, their minds and hearts become less filled with innocence and purity, and more filled with worldly distractions. It is in church that we are challenged to practice stillness, prayer, and attentiveness to the things of God. Even the pace and rhythm of … worship require us to slow down; such worship stands in stark contrast to the harried pace of our everyday lives. This quietness must be acquired and cultivated, taught and experienced.” (Christine Dorrance)

“You will make much more progress in your spiritual life if you give high priority to your church life." (James Scudder)

“When I say that I am going to Church, it means I am going into the assembly of the faithful in order, together with them, to constitute the Church, in order to be what I became on the day of my baptism – a member, in the fullest, absolute meaning of the term, of the Body of Christ” (Father Alexander Schmemann)

“The Church is an organic whole…By gathering together in the temple, we become the Body of Christ, for as He says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20).” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:6-17), Dynamis 5/28/2014)

“Participation in the life of the Church is a prerequisite for bearing fruit to Christ…Many Christians today approach their faith from an individualistic perspective. They view the Church as a convenience store where they can stop by and pick up inspiration.” (Dynamis 8/14/2014)

“…I often hear people say ‘I don’t have to go to Church. I don’t get anything out of it.’ It’s as if they are putting an investment of their time without any return. But just as a wise financial investor doesn’t just let deposits sit there, but rather constantly reworks his portfolio to yield the greatest increase, so too the spiritual person can’t just invest an hour or less each week and expect to yield much fruit.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“You know – growing up Christian – growing up in the Church is like having it all, all the time. It gets so comfortable....And so little by little, we stop paying attention to God in our lives. We outgrow our need for the Church, for God. We become self-satisfied, and forget how much our God loves us. It all becomes routine. And soon we start drifting away from God, from Church, and eventually we find ourselves outsiders, only busy about this world, and we lose sight of spiritual values.” (Father John Zeyack)

"The Church exists because sin is too serious to leave entirely to the workings of human systems of justice and vengeance to control it. The Church exists as God’s (and not man’s) answer to the problem of evil. His answer is to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, so that we can find our way through the tangle of sin back to the One who is never far from us.” (Hieromonk Maximos)

“The way of the Church is love; this differs from the manner of the legalists. The Church sees everything with forbearance and seeks to help each person, no matter what he may have done, no matter how sinful he may be." (Elder Paisios the Athonite)

“Church is a school for sinners, not a club of saints.” (Lillian Daniel)

“The Church is here to bring the whole world back to God…The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Timothy 4:3-5, C.S. Lewis)

“The holy Church includes many people, men, women and children without number. They are all quite different from one another in birth, in size, in nationality, and language, in style of living and age, in trades and opinions, in clothes and customs, in knowledge and rank, in welfare and in appearance. They are nonetheless all of them in the selfsame Church. Thanks to her, they are all reborn, newly created in the Spirit. The Church grants to all of them without distinction the grace of belonging to Christ and of taking His name by calling themselves Christians." (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“Often, in order to advance the material prosperity of the institutional Church, Christian communities reject the primary task of God’s people – to be a house of prayer…Let us never allow some aspect of church life – be it a committee, a parish, a diocese, or whatever – to be tragically turned into a materialistic program or an institution with earthly, measurable goals.” (Dynamis 12/2/2014)

“External criteria such as affluence, numbers, money, or positive response have never been the biblical measure of success in ministry. Faithfulness, godliness, and spiritual commitment are the virtues God esteems…Church was never intended to be an exclusive club focused inward." (John MacArthur, Joseph Stowell)

“The Holy Spirit is a spirit of unity, and in this unity we find not a flattening of human variety, but harmonious diversity: rich and poor, erudite and simple, young and old, male and female. It is the human and sinful element of the Church that often tries to turn the Church into a

“gathering of like-minded people with common cultural interests: a church for a particular ethnic group, a church for the young, a church for the old, a church for the super-pious. The Holy Spirit brings in all sorts and binds them together.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“In our rating-conscious society that ranks everything from baseball teams to “the best chili in New York,” an attitude of relative worth can easily seep into the church of Christ. But the design of the group of people who follow Jesus should not resemble a military machine or a corporate structure. The church Jesus founded is more like a family in which the son retarded from birth has as much worth as his brother the Rhodes scholar. It is like the body composed of cells most striking in their diversity but most effective in their mutuality.” (Paul Brand)

“Let us understand the Church as a boat in which we are pledged members of the crew. The owner and Master of this vessel sets the course. When we come aboard the Church and embrace the mystery of Christ, we accept both His authority and His destination. He blesses and trains us, the faithful, and provides us with a rightful place in the nave.” (Dynamis 6/19/2014)

“The Church is Christ, His Body living in history.” (Archimandrite Vasileios of Mt. Athos)

“The body of Christ—the Church—functions only when the members work together for the common good.” (Life Application Study Bible Galatians 6:1-3)

“As the Church – Christ’s Body – we are to strive to live truly, fairly, and honestly with one another…” (Dynamis 11/18/2013)

“Our churches are beautifully adorned and furnished so as to awaken us to God’s presence among us….However, the experience of “God with us” goes far beyond aesthetics. It is first and foremost a matter of the heart and will, of one’s spirit…” (Dynamis 11/16/2013)

The Church is like a hospital for those sick with sin, not a place where perfect people celebrate their holiness…. A lot of people get turned off of Church because they see in other Church goers and even clergy both poor behavior and hypocrisy…. as disappointing as this is, using this as reason not to go or denounce the Church reveals a level of ignorance in understanding the Church.” (Sacramental Living)

“Authority in the Church is never the monopoly of an ordained few whether bishops or other clergy. Authority is the responsibility of all. Likewise, obedience is not the obligation of an "inferior" laity or lower clergy, but a requirement of all faithful, lay and ordained.” (Rev. John Chryssavgis)

“…clergy and laity cannot exist without one another; spiritual elder and child must be existentially united. Together they constitute the living body of Christ; together they experience the mystery of Christ.” (Rev. John Chryssavgis)

“There is a hierarchy of honor in the Church....When the oversight is in order, the rest of the Church is free to function at the optimal level.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 12:28-31)

“While there are “orders” of clergy in the Church—bishops, presbyters, deacons—a separation or isolation between priests and laity is unknown in the New Testament." (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Peter 5:3)

“The Church is not a social organization or a group of people with similar social or political beliefs. Rather, She is the presence and life of Christ on earth...In the Church we experience and participate in the life of Christ.” (Clark Carlton)

“The challenge for the church today is to earn the right to share the gospel without throwing away truth in order to be trendy.” (Richard Stearns)

“Christianity as self-help appeals to the selfishness of believers and caters to the cafeteria mentality of most American Christians. Instead of the Church transforming them, they are defining and transforming their churches, such that many of them appear not as houses of worship but as theatres, coffeehouses, and shopping malls.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Christ did not come to found a useful social institution. His church doesn’t exist solely to make people moral, educated, physically healthy or to promote social justice. These are worthy fruits, but they don’t constitute the tree. The church exists primarily to reconcile sinners to God through the mysteries of grace." (Hieromonk Maximos)

"The long painful history of the church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led. Those who resisted this temptation to the end and thereby give us hope are the true saints." (Henri Nouwen)

“...the Church is both the preparation for and the experience of the life of the Kingdom of God here and now.” (Clark Carlton)

“The life of the Church is life.” (Sacramental Living)

“If we really think about it, “Church” begins when the worship service ends. Only if we are able to convert what we have heard and received into action will we be able to fulfill Christ’s call to spread His word throughout this hurting world.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“If one learns to live from Sunday to Sunday, in the rhythm of the church services…then one’s whole life will change dramatically.” (Marina Robb)

“The church is not where believers go, it is who they are….” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:16)

“Churches should always be two things simultaneously: schools for saints and hospitals for sinners. On the good side, they ought to be schools, helping to draw out of us our best, teaching us the skills and practices that help us, in imitation of our Lord, to be humble, loving, and wise. At the same time, in an acknowledgement of the broken place where each of us starts, it ought to be a hospital.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“If at times you find yourself unenthusiastic about attending your church...No doubt you’ve encountered many Christians who see the church as a stuffy place filled with hypocrites, and they can worship God just as well out by themselves among the wonders of nature…But before you pull away from the church, think about this: Where would the church be if everyone took that attitude? It would disappear. And then where would our declining society find the stabilizing influence the church brings in holding the line on truth and moral issues?” (Thomas Williams)

“There is no perfect Christian community. Every church will eventually disappoint us. All communities have the same fatal flaw, which is that they are filled with people." (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

“The world furnishes us with excuses for not going to Church, not being forgiven, not hearing His peace, not being filled with the life-giving Spirit, and not receiving His true Body. Instead, it suggests pleasures in abundance: extra sleep, travel, sports, hobbies, entertainment, and ease. The world corrupts; the Lord heals and fulfills. We either choose to join in…the work of the people of God, or we avoid this decision to our loss.” (Dynamis 4/27/2014)

“Properly understood, the Church is a healing community. When we enter this community we are taking up the long, hard struggle toward restoration and deification. [Christianity] rejects any so-called faith in Christ that does not require us to labor with the Lord through the Holy Spirit in the healing process.” (Dynamis 7/20/2014)

“The church is a hospital for the sick, not a museum for the saints.” (Anonymous)

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