Skip to main content

The Inability of Metaphors and Similes to Describe the Church

The difference between a metaphor and a simile is the word "like."  (that's perhaps overly simplistic, but useful:

Metaphor: You're a Dog.
Simile: You're like a Dog.

Of course, neither a metaphor nor a simile really does a good job of proclaiming reality:

You aren't a Dog.

Often times, Jesus and His friends used metaphors and similes to describe the church. Some of them would be:

  • The church is (like a) house
  • The church is (like a) family
  • The church is (like a) body
  • The church is (like a) temple

All of these are useful for helping us understand some nature or function of the church, but none of them are terribly effective as a comprehensive description of the reality of the church:

  • The church is not a house
  • The church is not a family
  • The church is not a body
  • The church is not a temple

The church is the church. It is completely different than any other organism/organization known to man. It is a spiritually-joined, missionally-driven, redeemed, justified, progressively-sanctified collection of people that extends through time and into the future.

...and that description doesn't even do it justice.

So I would offer up two suggestions:
Those who take offense whenever the picture of a corporation is used to explain or describe a function or segment of the church should realize that whether metaphor or simile, symbolic language is not a statement of reality, it is the verbal painting of a picture to aid in understanding.
Those who have turned the church into a corporation and would rather hear what Steven Covey, John Maxwell, and Seth Godin have to say about buildings, leadership, org charts, and marketing than they are about what the Bible says about elders, deacons, discipline, and communion need to take stock of whether they are pastoring churches or leading non-profits...
Those are two long and convoluted sentences. But they say what I meant to say, so you should read them again and then tell me what you think in the comments!


  1. South Korea has a lot of Prayer Mountains where people go to pray and seek the face of God. At these prayer mountains the sacrifice of prayer is offered at any time of the day. click to read more


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I Shall Have My Revenge

I shall have my revenge I'm not sure I have the quote exactly right, but in the movie Gladiator , Russell Crowe's character says something to the effect of, "I am husband to a murdered wife, father to a murdered son and I shall have my revenge in this life or the next. " I am typically not a big fan of vengeance. It's not usually a wise course of action. However, yesterday this quote came to mind while I was delivering some money to a friend (wisdom side note: never loan money to a friend. Give it to them. If they pay you back, you still have your money but if they don't you still ave your friend ). I thought to myself, "the person who is giving this gift isn't expecting to be paid back, but they will be… In this life or the next. In This Life or the Next Sometimes we live as if we only believe in this life. We make no provisions or plans for the next life. Sometimes we are so focused on taking care of ourselves

How I'm Going To End the Creation - Evolution Debate

You may or may not be aware that coffee has a very quick “mold-creation” rate.  If you leave a cup of coffee sitting out for too long, it will quickly begin to develop mold spores.  In fact, I would imagine, that in just a week or two a mug of coffee would develop a bog-like surface if left alone. Therefore. I’m placing a full mug of coffee in a secluded room where it will be undisturbed.  I’m also leaving instructions in my will that in 100 years, my grandchildren are to go into that room and document the lives of all the mold creatures that have come to life. That’ll show those silly creationists.