Who is the church for?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by pituophis, May 3, 2006.

  1. pituophis

    pituophis
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    Who is the local, physical church for? Believers or unbelievers? Please use scripture to defend answer.

    In other words, what is the purpose of the church? Is Rick W. correct in his book, "The Purpose Driven Church?" Are there any other views (if so, list web sites, book titles, etc).
     
  2. doulous

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    1 Corinthians 10:31-32 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;

    Notice that Paul is instructing believers not to give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God. The Jews and Greeks in this passage are unbelievers. Obviously the "church of God" is referencing believers.

    The local church is made up of believers. Do a word search on the word "church." It is used 77 times in the New Testament and everytime it is used it refers to believers.

    The purpose of the church is greater than any author. Ecclesiology cannot be packed in a book. The word for church (eklessia) means to be "called out." Who is called out, believers or unbelievers? Obviously it is believers. Look at 1 Cor. 1:2:

    1 Corinthians 1:2 2 to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

    Paul addresses his letter to the "to the church of God." He is actually saying, "to the called out ones of God." He is linking the church to believers. This is further supported as he calls them, "sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours." This a description of believers only.

    Should the church have any involvement with unbelievers? Yes. We are to implore them to be reconciled to Christ through the preaching of the gospel.
     
  3. Jarthur001

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    For believers to gather as one in faith to worship God,

    The world has many faces to gather. We must have "outreach" to share the good news. But this can never be our main goal.

    We live to WORSHIP God.


    In Christ..James
     
  4. Ransom

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    pituophis asked:

    Who is the local, physical church for? Believers or unbelievers? Please use scripture to defend answer.

    That's the wrong question. You should be asking, "Who is the church?"

    As Paul writes to the Corinthians, the church is

    It is "God's household" (1 Tim. 3:15), consisting of "those whose names are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23). How can the church be for unbelievers when the very definition of the church excludes them?

    This is not to say that unbelievers should not be made to feel welcome at services. Christianity is not, after all, a secret society. However, it should be understood that they are guests in the house of God, because services are for the children of God to give worship to God and be equipped for the work of God.
     
  5. Brother Bob

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    The church building and the Church are two completely different things.
     
  6. Ransom

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    The church building and the Church are two completely different things.

    Doesn't matter. The answer is the same: the Church is God's family, and the church building belongs to them.
     
  7. Jarthur001

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    Ransom...10 high fives to ya.

    [​IMG]

    It is "God's household" (1 Tim. 3:15)


    In Christ..James
     
  8. Jarthur001

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    Addressing the OP...this is another view other then the 1st view from the OP....

    *******

    First we need to make some observations about a Biblical definition of the church. The word "church" in the N.T. never refers to a building or a place. It always refers to a people: either the total number of believers who have ever lived, or a local group of those believers. For example, in Ephesians 1:22,23 Paul says that God, having raised Christ from the dead above all rule and authority, "put all things under his feet and made him head over all things for the church which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." That is the universal church, the whole number of the redeemed who look to Christ as their life and their authority. In this sense there could never be such a thing as churches. There is only one church, "one body" (Eph. 4:4).

    But in the N.T. the word "church" also is used to refer to the group of believers in a particular city and in a particular house. For example, Acts 11:22 refers to the "church in Jerusalem," 1 Corinthians 1:2 refers to the "church of God which is at Corinth," 1 Thessalonians is addressed (in 1:1) "to the church of the Thessalonians" and so on. 1 Corinthians 16:19 says, "the churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. In Colossians 4:15 Paul sends greetings to Nympha and the church in her house." And Paul's letter to Philemon is also addressed to "the church in your house." So there seem to be three levels at least where the word "church" applies to God's people. One is the universal body of Christ including all believers of all times. Another is a group of Christians associated because of their geographic togetherness in a city. And a third would be a smaller segment of believers who gather in a home. These last two groups might be identical in a city where there were so few Christians they could all meet in one home. But in a city with thousands of Christians, like Jerusalem, small house churches must have developed quickly.

    I would define a local church like this: a local church is a group of baptized believers who meet regularly to worship God through Jesus Christ, to be exhorted from the Word of God, and to celebrate the Lord's Supper under the guidance of duly appointed leaders.


    John Piper


    In Christ...James
     
  9. doulous

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    JArthur001 said:

    You're combining definition and function together. Strictly speaking the church is simply a called out assembly of believers. Baptism, celebrating the Lord's supper, exhortation, evangelism etc. are all necessary functions of the church.
     
  10. npetreley

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    Here's the Martian view of the church. (By "Martian view" I mean what a Martian might think by viewing it from the outside, with no prior knowledge as to what the people inside believed.)

    Church takes the form of...

    1. Socializing, when people talk about all sorts of things from football to what happened to Leslie's daughter last week
    2. Disorganized assembling into seats
    3. Entertainment (a choir sings, individuals sing, etc.)
    4. Group participation entertainment ("worship " songs)
    5. Collecting money
    6. (Sometimes) Synchronized eating and drinking of tiny bits of cracker and some grape juice
    7. Fidgeting during a lecture
    8. A call for people to come to the altar
    9. Some more entertainment
    10. A much more organized exit from the meeting area, often including a single-file line to walk by and/or greet the guy who lectured
    11. Socializing again, where people continue to talk about football, work, other things

    Martian conclusions:

    1. Socializing seems to be a very big part of this church thing, since people seem to be happiest during this part of the ritual.

    2. The Martian is very confused by the entertainment. Some people seem to really enjoy it, while others are extremely bored.

    The group singing entertainment seems like the most important part of the meeting for some people, since they are energetic during the singing but look like they are about to doze off during the lecture.

    This week, the Martian picks a woman from the meeting and watches her throughout the week. He notices she is sleeping with some man other than her husband. She was one who was especially emotional when singing "In all I do, I honor you", so I guess this is one of the things that honors "you", whoever that is.

    3. The Martian can make no sense at all of the collection of money. Solomn music plays in the background as people pass a basket around. Some people drop in one or two green papers. Others drop in a paper with handwriting on it. Most people don't drop anything in.

    4. The synchronized eating ritual is very confusing. People are routinely told to examine themselves, but nobody does. They look off into space or close their eyes, but never look at themselves.

    The most important part of this ritual seems to be the timing of putting the cracker in their mouths or drinking the grape juice. Everyone is very careful to do it all at once. One child put the cracker in his mouth when he first got it, and he was scolded by his mom for doing so, so this must be very important.

    5. The lecture makes absolutely no sense to the Martian. It obviously doesn't make sense to a lot of the people, because many seem to ignore it, especially the younger ones.

    The lecture sometimes talks about the same topics people discussed during socializing. The lecturer sometimes talks about football, or what happened to Leslie's daughter last week. But it always seems to branch off into some unrelated topic which seems much more boring to the people than what they were talking about when they were socializing.

    6. A few people walk to the altar and "pray" with the pastor or an elder. The Martian doesn't quite know what to make of this.

    7. People don't seem to enjoy the return to the entertainment as much as they did the first entertainment session. They look anxious to move or go somewhere.

    8. It's a mystery as to why they file out in an organized way. People seem to be greeting the lecturer AFTER the lecture. Why didn't they greet him when they first showed up?

    9. Everyone seems to be happy again. They're back to the socializing, although this social session seems shorter and a good portion of the people are more interested in getting away.

    ------

    If I had more time, I'd like to do this "right" and include more details, but I thought I'd whip up this Martian perspective, just for fun.
     
  11. Brother Bob

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    You can tear one down, burn it completely destroy it but you can't destroy the church. It does matter too. There are some who are in the building even have their names on the church book but are not in the church. You know better than that. [​IMG]

    Jarthur001;
    You give Ransom 10 high five's and the very next post say just the opposite. Either say one or the other, looks bad to try and go both ways.
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    nept;
    Answered the original OP which specifically addressed the question of the building.
     
  13. Brother Bob

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  14. pituophis

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    If the "church" is the body of believers, then why would the service be "seeker sensitive" as Rick Warren & Bill Hybels suggest? Why would you design your music service to attract "lost" youth? etc...
     
  15. doulous

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    pituophis wrote:

    Why? Incorrect view of ecclesiology. Is it wrong for the church to try and reach the lost? No. Special progams or evangelistic outreaches having been used by God in the past. BUT...is the day to day or week to week function(s) of the church supposed to be geared to the unbeliever? No.

    [ May 03, 2006, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: doulous ]
     
  16. Deacon

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    Well let's see...
    Uhhh...maybe to help your congregation fulfill the great commission. [​IMG]

    Rob
     
  17. doulous

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    You can tear one down, burn it completely destroy it but you can't destroy the church. It does matter too. There are some who are in the building even have their names on the church book but are not in the church. You know better than that. [​IMG]

    Jarthur001;
    You give Ransom 10 high five's and the very next post say just the opposite. Either say one or the other, looks bad to try and go both ways.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Brother Bob, you and I are in agreement. The only reason you can call a building "the house of God" is because the body of Christ meets there. Other than that the building is nothing but a piece of real estate. There is no correlation between a church building and the O.T. temple. The shikineh glory of God resided in the temple. The Holy Spirit resides in us.
     
  18. Brother Bob

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    doulous;

    Finally!!!! lol [​IMG]
     
  19. npetreley

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    I'm confused. Did you mean to say "answer"?

    I did answer the question in the form of a spoof. There are certainly many exceptions, but right now the purpose of the local church seems to have degenerated into providing a social club and a place to go to feel good.

    The part about the woman is from personal experience. My ex-wife was considered to be one of the most godly women in her church. She attended faithfully, tithed, trembled and cried while passionately singing the praise and worship songs, listened to and sang praise and worship songs at home, taught Beth Moore bible studies, taught sunday school. She also slept with a co-worker for years before we were married (even after his wife tried to reconcile their marriage), during our marriage, and afterward. Members of the church knew what was going on and nobody lifted a finger to do anything about it.

    This is a symptom of a church that no longer cares about whether its members are really Christians, or cares about whether its Christian members are leading Godly lives. It exists to entertain, make people feel good, get more members, get the income, and sustain itself.

    A true local church is a body of REAL believers, working together to build each other up in the Lord, and more. A true local church tries to avoid allowing fake Christians as members, cares about the spiritual lives of its members as well as their physical needs, and when they learn of things like what I mentioned above, they do something about it.

    You're right. The building is nothing but real estate. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the church.
     
  20. Brother Bob

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    No, I was saying to the other you were on topic and answered the OP. [​IMG]
     

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