Who wants just plain old coffee anymore when there are so many new inventive flavors? Reminds me of the many different shades of Christian experience. Here’s a favorite that has gotten popular over time: the “intensely alone” mocha latte. That version is all about Jesus and the individual Christian, flavored of course, to the drinker’s delight. If you didn’t like Jesus before, you’ll like Him plenty now, because it’s the kind where you leave out the church. The problem is that the drink is not very biblical. Yes, there’s still “coffee,” but now almost sweetened into oblivion–sweet feelings, sweet moments, sweet ideas, sweet concepts, sweetly self-serving, sweetly entertaining. Subtract the reality of fellow believers whom you must love and forgive and serve with, and the Christian life becomes a hot syrup treat. I ran into someone the other day from another church who said she could do without the people at church and just listen to great preaching on the internet. Mmmmmmm. Sounds good, right? By eliminating other believers, you can save yourself the trouble of enduring the weird ones, the hypocrites, the abrasive, the legalistic, and the quirky.
Sorry, but there’s just no such thing as the biblical Christ running around without the church. The Bible tells us that God “made us alive together with Christ” and that He “raised us up together” and “seated us together” with Him (Eph. 2:5-6). There’s a whole lot of “us” and “together” in those verses. If you try to brew a “He” and “I” concoction, you’ll get something that has less “coffee” in it than you’d think. Whipped cream, yes, and toffee shavings, butterscotch syrup, steamed milk, and sugar. But that sounds like a cup of candy, not coffee.