This one goes out to the doctrine guys. The guys with ecclesiological opinions. The pastors and elders who think the Bible addresses the practices and structures of the church.
Wait a second, I’m talking about myself, and maybe you. I thank God for you, and I rejoice to consider myself a co-participant with you in working for Christ’s kingdom.
Yet there’s a temptation I have noticed that you and I are susceptible to: we can love our vision of what a church should be more than we love the people who compose it. We can be like the unmarried man who loves the idea of a wife, but who marries a real woman and finds it harder to love her than the idea of her. Or like the mother who loves her dream of the perfect daughter more than the daughter herself.
This is an implicit danger for all of us who have learned much from God-given books and conferences and ministries about “healthy churches.” We start loving the idea of a healthy church more than the church God has placed us in…
Later, Leeman goes on to explain what it looks like to love a church more than its health:
To say that we should love the church more than its health means this: we should love people because they belong to Jesus, not because they have kept the law of a healthy church, even though that law may be good and biblical. It means we should love them because of what Christ has done and declared, not because of what they do.
If you love your children, you want them to be healthy. But if you love your children, you love them whether they are healthy or not.
Certainly you can rejoice when a brother or sister grows in theological understanding. You rejoice in the greater unity of truth you now share (see 2 John 1). But your gospel love—your “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners” love—should extend no less to the brother who is theologically, ecclesiologically, even morally immature, because such love is based on Christ’s perfection and truth, not the brother’s.
Read the whole article here.