12:38 AM

Summer Conference Notes, #1: The Church Seminar I

why study the church?
because if you're a Christian, understanding a healthy ecclesiology is an important step to maturity

what is the church?
- the avenue God crated to carry out His redemptive plan
- the Father's family, the Son's presence, and the Spirit's temple

the church really is first instituted in genesis 12 with abraham (emphasis on family)
at pentecost it takes on a more explicit form, but it is not new [translation: we are into covenant theology, not dispensationalism]

circumcision is no longer required because there is no physical requirement to enter the spiritual family
- so what about baptism?
~ explicitly commanded by Christ
~ physical sign is not the issue; the heart is (i.e., you can be saved without being baptized - does not negate the command to obey and be baptized, but rather demonstrates further the truth of sola fide)

there is a difference between what we see when we look at the church and what really is (visible vs. invisible distinction)

so why bother with the visible church?
- the invisible church must be expressed (like faith must have works) or it will be only a theoretical platitude
- going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than works do, but both of those things demonstrate an invisible truth, or belonging (works demonstrate faith; being involved in the visible church demonstrates membership in the invisible church)
- even Jesus did not ditch the visible church; the Man went to synagogue (clearly those people didn't know what was going on, as Messiah Himself was sitting there with them and they didn't know), Who of all people was the one most justified in not going
- immediacy of visible church prevents unpracticed benevolence and affection for others, which CS Lewis describes as "largely imaginary"

Pietism: a reaction to the intellectual emphasis of religion (experiential conversion, centralized individual inner life) which focused on emotion
Revivalism: experience, individualism, emotion, personal decision to be personally saved from personal sins, cognitive theologicial self-actualization
Problem with these: the church is more than a place to stoke the flames of individual hearts for Jesus

individualism is idealistic and detatched from reality and practice

incarnational church: you cannot believe in God in the abstract (if you believe Him, you will follow Him) - faith has flesh and blood

the submission of the church:
Jesus has been made "head over everything for the church"
this implies structure, which has developed over time and in accordance with need
two areas of submission to Christ through submission to
1) the Bible (central to worship & thinking
2) church leaders

sermon ought to be central to worship service because it is to be the Word of God preached - thus it should usually be expository

new testament letters are 1/2 doctrine and then half behavior impacted by doctrine

why are the particular people elders who are mentioned in titus 1:5? what pisition do they really practically have over my life?
qualifications: Paul lays these out pretty clearly, but basically we are looking for spiritual maturity
can church leaders really tell me what to do? there is biblical precedent for elders making a decision and the people following it - they cannot bind our consciences, but they do lead us in a real way

the point of church government is not dominion but stewardship

what does the church do?
eph. 4:15-16 "we will in all things grow up into Him Who is the Head, that is, Christ"
key distinction between kingdom and church
in/for the world: balance between (a) the push to spread the gospel and push out and reach (become culturally aware) and (b) protection against false teaching (prevent world from corrupting via interaction)
the church glorifies God as an instrument of redemption
christians have responsibilities the church does not have
kingdom of God: "God's sovereign rule in principle comes into concrete expression" - redemption of anything ("go find something that's broken and fix it")
nonchristians can bring God's kingdom to bear as well, they just are unaware of it
preachers are called to preach the Word, pray for flock, and disciple


leonard said...

You seem quite well versed in matters of the church. Very interesting.

I believe The Lord has His church so we can worship Him and so we can learn how to be better people.

The Church helps us to learn more whbat He wants us to do and also reminds us that we do need to repent to become more like Him. It also provides an avenue for us to serve Him while serving our fellow man.

Good luck in your search for truth.

leonard said...

Sorry -- my spelling whbat should be what

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