When we are looking for a church the one thing we desire more than anything is that the church be real. A church is 'real' when it is transparent. A transparent church is not pretentious - it's members disclose their setbacks as well as their victories. We all value transparency but we also fear it and this is whey we long to see it modeled in our church. A transparent church gives us the comfort to share our own struggles with people we know genuinely love and care for us. We value transparency and for good reason. Even the Apostle Paul modeled transparency:
The transparent church cannot be quiet about what is wrong.
Here's a vital principle - for a church to experience genuine, God-honoring revival it must be open and honest about sin. In a culture that preaches at us not to judge or condemn other people the church stands in stark contrast. The church condemns sin and preaches to sinners. Paul makes this principle very clear in his letter to the Ephesians when he says, "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose themThe transparent church cannot relegate certain groups as if they are different than others" (Eph. 5:11). In our culture the church that calls sin what it really is will have the denominational pharisees on its door step demanding that it stop "judging people." The end result of not addressing real sin is cover-up.
The transparent church does not marginalize groups in the church.
There is a difference between having a welcome statement and being a church that lives out welcoming as part of its very identity. The transparent church really should be accepting of all groups in the church. This does not mean that you accept sinners without calling sin what it really is (see above), but it does mean that you are accepting of sinners into your assembly. The greatest charge leveled against Jesus during his earthly ministry was that He was a friend of publicans and sinners. To this day our Savior is adorned with the title that was once used as a slur. Jesus is a "friend of sinners." If Christ was a friend of sinners than surely His church must be also. And yes that means that the church should show love to homosexuals, abusers, thieves, and murderers. The Gospel is grand in its depth for discipleship and its breadth for evangelism. The transparent church loves sinners and gives them the Gospel.
The transparent church will always apply biblical truth.
What's more important: A nice looking building or clear biblical truth being taught from the platform and in the classrooms and hallways. The transparent church holds God's truth as its absolute guide for all conversation and action. God's truth isn't just important, it's the essential ingredient that forms the foundation for the entire church.
The transparent church must confront sin no matter where they find it.
While most churches would never purpose to conceal clear sin many churches choose to turn away in attempt to keep themselves ignorant of what they know to be true. If you keep closing your eyes to what you know is wrong and only talk about what makes you feel good or comfortable that's sin. The story of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29 gives a tremendous example of this principle. Hezekiah was willing to expose the sin of the past regime and so did the priests and so did God. It is unchristian to join others in the hiding of ugly truth (read Ephesians 5:11 again). Sin is sin no matter where it is found. The transparent church points out sin wherever it is found whether it be the chairman of the deacons, the treasurer, some longtime member or the pastor.
Posted by Caleb