Whose Church is it?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I heard a pretty good sermon last night. I didn't agree with all of it, but that was partly his point. He said (rightly, IMO) that most of the debatable issues that separate denominations are what cause us to lose sight of the foundation upon which the church is built. He used this scripture:

    And this....

    The message was basically that no church belongs to a pastor or denomination. Jesus said that upon this rock [that He is the son of the living God] He will build His church. The church belongs to Jesus. I would add to that message one more thing, that another foundational truth in this passage is that "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven". So it is not the cleverness or the eloquence of a preacher that delivers the Gospel, it is God Himself who reveals Jesus to people.

    Neither is it the cleverness, the eloquence, the wide variety of ministry programs, the featured guest speakers, etc., that grow a church. Our man-centered efforts to grow congregations and to perform outreach may increase numbers, but they do not necessarily grow the church. Our efforts are vain unless they are works of the LORD in us, not our own efforts, ideas or performance. "Unless the LORD builds it, it is built in vain."

    He went on to say that nothing can stop His church, if indeed what we consider to be "our" churches are built on that foundation. If we do not, and attempt to build on our own devices, then if God doesn't bless it, it probably SHOULD die out. Unless, of course, we realize our error and build upon the foundation HE has laid.

    I'm not a pastor, and I don't think I should be one. So this had no practical value for me. But I do see lots of churches who build on their own cleverness, multiplicity of programs, etc., and what they end up with are dying churches, or huge churches of questionable value. I guess my question is to the pastors on here -- what do you think? Do you agree with the above?
     
  2. LeBuick

    LeBuick
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    Yes, I believe the Church belongs to Christ. Without hearing the entire message, I believe he is mostly speaking to the body of Christ more so than the aggregate body who worships as your Church family. They both belong to Christ and should be founded on the rock of salvation but Christ has entrusted the Pastor and family to be a light on the hill and a saving institution drawing men unto him.
     
  3. Helen

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    Personally, and from what I have seen, Christ's true Church, His Body, is not any one denomination or group of people as we see and know them. It spans across time and place and is comprised of true believers. Hopefully there are a number of them in any one of the churches that preach the Bible.
     
  4. Jim1999

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    There is the spiritual body we call the church. This in essence all twice-born believers collectively.

    There is also a sense of the local church, the body of believers who gather in the name of the Lord to worship Him, learn about Him and minister the gospel.

    To-day, we use the term church to mean that buiding which houses the people who gather in the Lord's name for various reasons.

    They are all correct and we should not be so priggish about how some people use the term. Often we tend to be so exclusive in our terminology that we literally drive people off, when in fact, we should be doing all we can to bring them in.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Jim, I agree in principle. We should agressively carry out the Great Commission. However, given the bloated rolls of our American SBC churches, 30% of the members attending on Sunday, many of them never saved in the first place, maybe we ought to be doing all we can to keep some folks out--until they're truly saved.

    I guess what I mean is there is a right time to be exclusivist.
     
  6. Brother Bob

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    Too much..........
     
    #6 Brother Bob, Nov 11, 2006
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  7. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    It's God's church

    Considering the church to be the spiritual body of Christ, not a building or private club, I don’t see the spirit of Christ denying the door of any building to be walked into by faith to only those who are already considered by their deeds to be worthy of such. I can’t imagine Him approving of the Pharisitical judgments of men to others of not being “saved” and thereby not accepted in love, patience, and understanding because their own hypocritical standards, but maybe that’s just me.

    In the Bible I read about the Spirit of Christ being one that ate with the sinners, preached to the prostitutes, out and about, but certainly not putting up buildings and giving the boot to some for owning particular sins. Personally, I think that is a man made church idea that is going to be answered for.

    I wonder how many times people are driven off instead of being told to pull up a rock, or even feel discouraged from entering into a building called a church because of believing they probably aren’t good enough as they witness the high and mighty sneering attitudes of some members.
     
  8. Brother Bob

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    So, you don't believe in any order in the church whatsoever. I don't think Apostle Paul would agree with you. I sit here now and try to think of a church with no order, no fruits, no nothing just a wide open door. I wish it were that easy and I am sure I will answer for the stewardship of the church as its in my hands and the deacons but I am willing to die on that. Thank you,
     
    #8 Brother Bob, Nov 11, 2006
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  9. Benjamin

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    My point was I don’t consider the building a church, I consider the body of Christ the Church and as for being in the body of Christ to follow Him as He reached out to the sinners and said come and, “I am the door, by Me if any man enter therein he shall be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.” So I agree it is not for us to let in or keep out, but first and foremost to reach out in love.
     
  10. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Many of the problems with our churches today spring not from an exclusivist position, but the lack of it. Our bloated church rolls, filled with those who give no evidence of conversion, nowhere to be found, testify to that failure to properly follow the scriptural examples of church discipline, or discipling for that matter.

    In Acts 20, Paul called the elders from the congregation at Ephesus to him. In vv 28-29 he admonished them to take care of the flock, warning of wolves would would enter the congregation and devour the flock.

    I take from this that Paul was warning the leaders of the congregation to guard the doors of the church, and try to keep out those who who profess Christ, but are masquerading wolves.

    We have become so non-judgmental that we have dumped any kind of discernment out the back door, and it has become a smarmy koom-ba-yah attitude.
     
  11. Benjamin

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    In Acts 20 Paul said to be overseers and feed the church of God, that the wolves would come in and not spare the flock, and to speak the word of His grace which is able to build you up, and to support the weak. Seems I may have a bit opposite view on the wolf part, they being the ones to distort the grace of God and giver of the boot to those coming in the door.
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    So, you are calling the keepers of the flock the wolves. Jeepers why would you do that?
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    Benjamin, I see we were on the same wave length about Acts 20.

    Interesting take on who the wolves are who have infiltrated the church. We have to remember they were admitted and welcomed into the congregation at some point. It reinforces what we both contend--that the congregation must be more discerning about those who seek fellowship with it. This is not arrogance or snobbiness. It's following a scriptural mandate.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    I didn't read it that way, but you might be right. It brought to mind the story my young translator told me during a mission trip to Romania. She said that when communism fell in 1989, three deacons in her church disappeared. They were communists who had infiltrated the congregation and played the role so well they were elected deacons.

    So the wolves could very well be leaders in the flock. And given some of the things we see in the Church Growth Movement, some keepers could be wolves as well.
     
    #14 Tom Butler, Nov 11, 2006
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  15. Brother Bob

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    1. Seems I may have a bit opposite view on the wolf part they being the ones to distort the grace of God

    2. and to speak the word of His grace which is able to build you up, and to support the weak



    He used the ones who were to speak His Grace as being the ones who distorted it. I don't see how you can take it any other way?
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Maybe the Plymouth Brethren had the right idea. Morning service for believers only including an exclusive sitting of the Lord's table, and a gospel meeting in the evening for reach out with the gospel. They also used to have Sunday School in the afternoon...a quite separate meeting.

    That was when I attended in the 40's in England. I can't say how they conduct meetings to-day.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Brother Bob

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    I hope no one is reading this and think I mean to keep them from coming in and hearing the word of the Lord. We are talking about membership here. Everyone is welcome at our church at any meeting we have.
     
  18. Benjamin

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    Of course not, I’m saying the keepers of the flock will support the weak and build them up with the words of His grace. The wolves will rise up in the church and distort that message.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    Jim, there's some merit in that idea. Certainly eliminates any arguments over Closed Communion.
     
  20. LeBuick

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    Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
    25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
    26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
    27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
    28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
    29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
    30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
    Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
     

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