What is Church?

Interestingly came across two post today that tie into this.

First I watched this thanks to Jim Akin

Than read this thanks to the LifeChurch.tv guys (the comments are the where you should read)

So I ask myself, and you, what is church? I’ve been wrestling with this idea now for over two months, and don’t have any insightful wisdom to pass on…but welcome  your thoughts

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6 Responses to “What is Church?”

  1. I don’t have much time to flesh these out, but here are a few thoughts.

    1. The church is the bride of Christ and the object of Christ’s redemptive work (cf. Eph. 5:25ff). He died for the church.

    2. The church is the chosen means for proclaiming the good news of the Gospel to the world. The reformers gave two marks of the church that I think are worth considering. A true church is one in which (a) the Word of God is rightly proclaimed and heard and (b) the [ordinances] are rightly administered. I believe the phrase “rightly administered” is best understood as not “meritorious of salvation.” In the very life of the church the Gospel is preached. From her mouth and through her members the Gospel is to go out unto every people, tongue, and nation.

    3. The church is regenerate. I am convinced that the Scriptures teach that the church is comprised of all believers at all times and places. The apostle’s creed states that the church is “one, holy, catholic [i.e., universal].” While the church is universal in scope, it is local in expression. Thus, a local church (in its most ideal form) is a regenerate group of believers who have publicly identified with Christ. For this reason I am a Baptist, because I believe the faith of the participant must precede the act of baptism. Without faith, baptism is a mere ceremony that proclaims only the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, not the identification and union of the believer with Him in this work.

    4. The church is formed by the Spirit. Given the regenerate nature of the church, whatever definition we choose must include the formative role of the Spirit. For it is only by the Spirit of God that one is called to repentance by the Gospel. The Spirit not only regenerates us and sanctifies us, He unites us and draws us together into local expressions of the universal body of Christ. The entire book of Acts is about the Spirit’s movement in the world and building up of Christ’s church. Whatever the church is we must say that it is the product of the Holy Spirit.

    Sorry, this is just me throwing up on the screen here. I welcome any thoughts/rebuttals you might have. I pray your work is going well. Miss our times of fellowship. Stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. I pray you are finding joy in the work. Tell Leslie we said hi.

    In Christ,

    Jonathan

  2. jumponthetrampoline Says:

    guess if that’s jw’s random thoughts, we should be prepared for a book when he can sit down and get organized.

    and now for my thoughts…

    church.

    having just finished a stint at a local church here in NOLA, i feel that most of the world today has no concept of those truths johnathan threw at us.

    in today’s world, things are more often what we know them to be. we don’t look for what things are, but what they are to US. what is a particular thing in my context?

    church is people. not buildings. church is where you go on sundays; it’s who we ARE.

    but to a world of “outsiders”, to quote the newest Barna publication, church is a place where religion happens, where stuffy, stodgy, overbearing people go on sundays.

    forgetting what Jesus intended the church to BE and DO, people have become concerned with what WE want the church to BE and DO. we have forgotten that WE are the church.

    i cringed every time somebody in my local church referred to the building as “The Lord’s House.” do they not realize that God no longer resides in a building, but in the hearts of his children?

    the sadness i felt as i watched the video has nothing to do with the buildings, but with the closing of hearts. God is not concerned with our meeting places, or our clothing, but with our hearts.

    thanks for giving me somewhere to put all that. much love my brother. JW if you read this, much love to you as well, and give karen a hug for me.

    keep jumping,

    rando

  3. Good words Rando. Miss you man. Hope all is well. Great point. I agree with you about the video. People really have no concept of who/what a church is. Keep pressing on.

    JW

  4. Nice job guys…now to spur it even further in what ways can Jonathan’s description be expressed in light of Rando’s passionate plea for open hearts. Have we defined it, or mearly illustrated expressions of it? Where can “church” take place? Who should be invited? I love J’s comment “Whatever the church is we must say that it is the product of the Holy Spirit.” Still wrestling with this…keep commenting and invite others.

  5. A better question is, what is the Kingdom of God?
    Travis

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