The Church

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    In another thread there is an ongoing sidebar discussion about the seeker-sensitive movement. quantumfaith made the following statement:

    quantumfaith is stating, by his use of the word essence, that his church exists primarily for the unchurched, not Christians. The word "unchurched" really means unbelievers. It is like using the term "undocumented workers" to describe illegal aliens.

    quantum's statement is an important window into understanding the difference in opinion about what the Church is and how it is supposed to function. On the one hand we have churches like quantum's. They believe their main purpose is to reach the lost. In order to reach the lost they embrace varied forms of contextualization, both in worship and outreach. On the other hand there are churches that believe their main purpose is to worship God and care for the saints. Which view is correct?

    The New Testament word for "church" is the Greek word "ekklessia". It means a "called out assembly or gathering." We know that unbelievers are not called out, rather it is the elect that are called out. Therefore it is fairly easy to determine that the Church consists of believers and only believers. There are impostors within local churches, but that does not mitigate the fact that the true Church (commonly referred to as the "invisible church") consists only of believers.

    This distinction is not lost on the modern church growth movement, which often includes those churches that are termed "seeker sensitive". This is why a number of churches have dropped the word "church" from their name. If you do not call yourself a church then it is much easier to become a chameleon and adopt methodologies that reflect society.

    By now I have probably been misunderstood by at least a few of you. I am not suggesting that evangelism is not a function of the Church. It is. But the main purpose of the Church is not evangelism. There is a subtle but important difference in those words.

    The following exchange took place between our Lord and the Apostle Peter:

    John 22:15-17 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    Our Lord's main concern was not for the lost, but for His sheep. Again, I am not suggesting that Jesus had no concern for the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom; it is just that He was tasking Peter to be an under-shepherd of His sheep -- believers. This is the primary responsibility for pastors and elders -- to care for Christ's sheep. In the executing of Christ's charge, Peter handed this instruction down to other under-shepherds:

    1 Peter 5:1-3 1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

    The Apostle Paul also understood that the focus of the Church, apart from the worship of God, was the care of the saints:

    Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

    Of course, a healthy church will not only worship in truth and care for the saints, it will also evangelize through the preaching of the Gospel (euangellion = good news). A healthy church will have members who are praying for "divine appointments" to share their faith. Visiting nursing homes, volunteering at rescue missions, caring for neighbors, offering a course of English as a second language; all of these are ways to engage with society and show the love of Christ. But these things do not subtract from the fact that the Church is an assembly of believers.
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    The Church in making disciples extends the Kingdom worldwide.We are called and equipped for this reason.We should be all about this!

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


    We are equipped and sent out....

    12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

    15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

    16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
     
  3. OldRegular

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    The Apostle Paul speaking to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus tells them:
    Did Jesus Christ die so that the “essence” of the “why of a church?” was to appeal to the “unchurched”? I think not! Jesus Christ speaking of the proclamation of faith by Peter said:
    Whether the “unchurched” are saved or not the above statement by "quantumfaith" is precisely the reason that many if not most Churches are no longer the Body of Jesus Christ but simply a composite of the surrounding community, saved and unsaved. It would appear that this congregation mentioned by “quantumfaith” was formed with the deliberate purpose of compromising whatever Christian tenants were present with the desires/whims of the unchurched, whether believers or not.

    Sadly even some Churches who claim to be composed of the "called out ones" have left their first love and have simply become havens for those unbelievers who, for whatever reason, desire to be associated with "a church". But these want "a church" of their own making, catering to their carnal desires not yielding to Jesus Christ.
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Herold....have you consirered Luke 5:32?
     
  5. convicted1

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    The local church is for believers, first and foremost. However, it doesn't start and stop there. It is for helping those in need, to visit the sick, feed those who are hungry. And the most important aspect of the church is the furtherance of the gospel.....to tell the lost how they came become a part of the body of Christ....
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Yes...and you indeed fortunate Fletch to have a number of old school's in your neck of the wood's.
     
  7. convicted1

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  8. Herald

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    Of course. But that does not speak to the nature of the Church.
     
  9. OldRegular

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    The most important thing a Church can do is to remember, to cling to their "First Love". Recall what Jesus Christ told the Church at Ephesus:

     
  10. 12strings

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    Bump to quantum

    Bump...

    ...Really wanting to hear quantum's response to this thread.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    If the church is set up to appeal to the lost then they can avoid "go ye into all the world". The problem is the church cannot both appeal to the lost and engage in true worship of God. The lost only want things contrary to God. The believers goal in worship should be to only engage in those things that please God.Simply convincing the lost to walk in the door is not worship.

    The work of reaching the lost must be done out in the world. If one is going to gather on Sunday to bring the lost into the church they could at least be honest about it and not call it worship.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    You know.... Agreed. But then how does one pursue the lost?
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    You go out into the highways and biways and share the gospel. "As you go" is the command in the GReat Commission. As you go to the hardware store, as you go to the grocery store etc.

    Christians need to be apart of our communities not hide from them. As we do we need to be sharing the gospel not only in how we live but carrying the seed with us and being prepared to spread it.
     
  14. Greektim

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    Couple of Questions:

    1) Are you sure it is "as you go"???

    2) Are you sure "as you go" is THE command in the GC?
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I have felt more involvement in the Great commission directed at me by one simple (by that I mean humble) ....one humble man, living in Kentucky & helping to pastor an Old Regular Baptist church then Ive ever felt by any heavily laden academic & while Ive great respect for the learning that can be had at a seminary level, what gets lost is the ability to listen & learn & have empathy for the poor soul out there struggling thru life. Given that, it is a wonder how any professional pastor can hold a church together.

    "The Word Dwells Among Us"
    In the poor, in the hope of the unemployed, in the courage of the oppressed, in the presence of each other
     
    #15 Earth Wind and Fire, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  16. Herald

    Herald
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    Make disciples.
     
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding........ Give him his prize Dennis!

    Make disciples
     

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