Jesus people, loving people

Asking the difficult questions about church

Whatever our christian heritage we’ll all have certain ideas of what “church” is. Many of these will be good but when our ideas about something so fundamental are inherited or assumed without being deeply examined we risk coming unstuck somewhere down the road. These ideas will also remain just that - ideas.

It’s good to explore truth together and small bible studies are especially good for discussion and exploration. In searching biblical truth together we own it, it becomes our truth, not merely distant, irrelevant fact.

We must start by exploring God’s idea of church before opining. What is church and how are we to be church?

Some relevant questions we can discuss:

  • How does the bible describe church?
  • What causes churches to come into being?
  • What makes a church a church?
  • What is church for?
  • Who makes up the church?
  • Why do we need the church?
  • How do you join the church?
  • When do you join the church?
  • When do people leave the church?
  • What is the communion of saints?
  • How should leadership function in churches?
  • What should happen when the church meets?

And perhaps most importantly:

  • In what ways does the form of church we’re familiar with obscure or frustrate the potent essence of church described in the New Testament?
  • What can we do about it?

Historically, Church has been understood to operate on various levels. Terminology varies but basically we see:

  • Church congregations: regular face-to-face local expressions of church
  • Church in each region: like the Church in a particular town
  • The universal Church: encompassing all believers around the world and throughout history

At the time of the Reformation people saw through church as an institution dispensing salvation, and rediscovered the importance of having a heartfelt, personal relationship with Jesus. Being together for a long time we develop certain ways of doing things but we mustn’t think our way is the best. We must listen to God and be humble enough to hear from God.

These days there is a hunger for churches to work together more, which is a very good thing. On a local level interchurch relationships are more focused and developed.

Let’s put our heads and hearts together.

Let’s ask some brave questions, let’s challenge our assumptions.

Let’s study the bible with intrigue and intend to put into practice the pattern we find there.

Let’s be orthodox in what we believe and radical in how we apply it.

Let’s explore God’s idea of church.

Let’s love one another.

 

Also see our previous post: God’s Idea of Church

Published 10th May 2019

Comments

  1. Stevie says:

    It’s simple really. In the beginning was the Word the Word was with God and God was the Word……….so………if……….all those with a voice are not in any doubt……..Our Creator Will unleash His Mighty Warriors…….and avenge the bloodshed caused by man’s merry go round of manipulation and pathetic lies,. Each man to his own tries in vain to point a finger at his neighbour while all the time hiding what is left of the stinking corpes of God’s loved ones hidden behind those lies, silenced by those rules, who have been used, abused and discarded along the way….toward what…?….. a rulership whose only purpose is to manufacture its own miserable dictator…….their ingrained, selfish, deception has wrought far too many wars over the time since Our Father in Eternity first thought of the Twinkle in his own Eye!!!!?!!!!! He has had to watch in despair every time one of his children is lost to such a godless attitude. So as long as His Majesty is included in the equation all should be well with our soles very soon. To those of you who have an ear listen. Through Jesus Christ Name of Nazareth Son of the Living God Amen and Amen to that. Failing all else remember the dead in Christ shall rise first…….lol. Peace be with you peeps Stevie…… May the Lord of Lord’s be praised above every name and we all say J E S U S. J E S U S. J E S U S.

  2. David Henry Ralph says:

    The church is a community of believers, the early Christians shared what they had in common. Often new churches commence due to division on matters of faith and sometimes because of the holy spirit. A true church teaches biblical truth and people show God’s by care they have for one another. The church is for worshipping God primarily. People make up the church from various social strata. We need to be in a worshipping community which will help sustain us, and show how we live ever closer to the way Jesus Christ lived. First you have to walk through the door, by reading and listening to the word, and supporting the church you make a decision to be a member. People leave the church often because they are not really accepted, sometimes because they do not believe in what is being preached. The communion of saints and the believers in the church. The leadership should be living life as close to how Jesus lived and give truthful preaching of the word and been well ordered life. The holy spirit should come.

  3. Oliver Low says:

    I’ve been a (poor) congregational member of the Jesus Fellowship for about 15 years. About 8 years ago I was moved to stand up at Heart one Sunday evening and say that we should “remember our roots.”
    Our roots are c. 1969, some people were moved by the Holy Spirit to obey the commandment to love one another, and did, but before that, it was “the gracious calling of the Lord” c. 2000 years ago.

    3 years ago, I was received into full communion in the Catholic Church. I have the joy of experiencing the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the deep sense of connection and unity with the Church, which I never felt before. Becoming Catholic did not require me to turn my back on or abandon the Jesus Fellowship, or the Church of England; there really is only one Church, as I too have been saying for many years! We are all part of it, but it is better to be in full communion and accept the faith as handed down – all of it, not just the bits we choose, not only what we can rediscover by our own efforts studying scripture, but handed down faithfully, preserved by the Holy Spirit. “Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

    Many Protestant pastors have studied the histories of the early Church and so recognised it in the Catholic Church today, and given up their status and income to be fully a part of it. The questions asked in the thoughtful and timely article above are good questions. They were asked in the early church, and answered. Those answers can today be read in the Catechism; we need not keep questioning our foundations, they are solid. Then we can ask these more immediate questions:
    1. What are the charisms of the Jesus Fellowship, and how can we best put them at the service of the Church?
    2. In what new ways can we help each other faithfully and joyfully to live out our own vocations?
    3. What shall we ask for from the Church?

    I say all this because I want to know answers to those three questions myself, because I want you to share in the rich fullness of the Christian life – with all its suffering, wonder, and joy – a fullness I am finding only in full communion with the Catholic Church, and because I want the good of the Jesus Fellowship that I love.

    Love,
    Oliver
    🙂
    11 May 2019

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