The Inadequacy of Group Identity

Those of you who think having a church affiliation is important, let me ask you this: If group identity and affiliation were so useful, why did God ever decide to replace ancient Israel with the kingdom of God? 

If group identify is critical, what more clear and sure identity could you have than heredity?  Group identity, however, was inadequate for God’s ultimate purpose.  Why?  The answer lies in the nature of faith: faith is something that occurs between an individual and God.  This has nothing to do with one’s physical identity or human associations.

If group identity were critical to maintain faith, then God never would have abandoned the nation of Israel for the structure of church.  The group dynamics offered by the nation Israel were significantly superior to what a church can offer.  Church meets at most several times a week while Israel was a nation – they never departed from each other.  Reading the Scriptures, retelling the Bible stories, holding each other accountable – these are tools which a nation can employ more often, more comprehensively, and more effectively than a church.  What church can hold festivals like Israel did that involved every person in the country and sometimes lasted days?  Church members have to celebrate Christmas at church but also leave time for celebrating with their families – with Israel it was all one celebration.

Look at it from the opposite angle: If the church were a superior mechanism for the purpose of preserving and conveying faith, then God would have from the beginning employed a gathering a willing individuals from all nations to wait on Jesus rather than restricting Himself to the physical descendants of one man.  That is, He would have Abraham assemble like-minded people and grow the congregation rather than have him bear a child.

In any case, neither identity as a Jew, a churchgoer, or simply a professed Christian is sufficient to please God.  What God wants is for people to hear His voice and obey it.  Whoever does that is His family.

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