I have wanted to write about 'Church' for a while. Perhaps I've nothing new to offer, but at a time when there's much buzz about what Churchis not, and should not be, I wanted to put down my thoughts on what Church is. So here's the first installment.
Church is a community of believers
I love that community is a facet of current discussions on ecclesiology. we all know that Church is meant to be community, but I believe that this has to be more than 2 or 3 people gathering together in a pub and talking about Jesus (admit it...anybody can do that!). Church is a community OF BELIEVERS - people that love God and have a living faith in the saving power and person of Jesus Christ. Their belief is founded upon him; he's at the centre of it all; they live to please Jesus; they emmulate lives that resemble, copy and mimic the life of Christ.
Church is a community - a people with a common unity: they are lovers of God and lovers of people. They share common purpose: to glorify God through living lives that are lived as worship to Him; to 'make disciples' (not just get converts); to teach Jesus' way of living and being; to live out the great commandment and the great commission.
Belief is based on:
1. the teachings of Christ
2. The work of Christ
3. The authority of the Bible
I had a lecturer that talked about 'faith in faith' - faith in nothing really! Our faith has the basis of God's revelation of himself to us in scripture. Our belief needs to be placed alongside the 'plumbline of scripture'. If our belief is at odds with God's word then we have been deluded and deceived. When we stand on scripture our foundation cannot be removed. god is not a man that he should lie. His word is truth. we may not understand it; we may not even agree with it; we may struggle with aspects of it, but in the end it is still the word of God.
Any 'church' that does not hold fast to the authority of the bible is not the Church of Christ, regardless of what it names itself.
Our world is crying out for Churches that will shine the light of truth in the darkness - God has given the church his written word (your word is a 'light for my path - psalm 119), and he has given the church to the world to show the way to God.