“The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.”
Mr. Augustine said a lot of things. It is possible he said this, but there is no proof. In the plethora of thoughts he wrote down, it seems likely one would be able to find a context for this quote, but it’s nowhere to be found.
Which leads me to believe he never said it. Augustine, however, was rather mindful of whores in his life, so it sounds like something he would have said.
The gist of the quote, as far as I can tell, is that the church is a messed up place, but in the end, it’s still your mom and you’re supposed to love your mom.
I can think of three objections to this notion right off the bat:
First, would you love your mom if she were a whore? It would certainly be difficult, there would be a definite strain in the relationship. I would not trust her, nor would I get too close. If this is indeed an apt description of the church, would Christ really want me to associate with her? The Apostle Paul asked, “shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?” Is Christ asking us to be joined to a harlot? I think not.
Second, are you suggesting that the church, the Bride of Christ, is a whore? The same bride whom Christ washed and sanctified? Are you suggesting that Christ’s work has come up short and that new birth results in no change?
Third, the notion that the Church is our mother is not biblical. This is purely a Catholic idea that has no basis in anything scriptural. I would hesitate to use the metaphor.
I will be the first to admit that the visible/institutional church has been unfaithful and gross. No argument there. But this isn’t the True Church. It is Augustine’s church, so thus I can see why he may have said this, but it’s not the True Church, the Bride of Christ.
Don’t call Christ’s bride a whore. Not cool. The Bride of Christ is pure, holy, loving, peaceful, united, edifying, and fully loyal to her husband. There is no whoredom in Christ’s church.
Blame your problems with the church on human sin, don’t develop bad feelings toward His True People, His Bride. The Bride is dressed in fine, white linen representing the righteous deeds of the saints. This is the Bride of Christ, the Church. She does what is right and beautiful.
Don’t let past experience with those who weren’t the True Church anyway, keep you from present enjoyment of knowing Her now. God’s people are out there. It has always taken some work to find them. There has always been a remnant, and remnants are, by definition, small. But when you find Her, what a joyous relationship can ensue.