Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Loving the Church
01/14/2012 - Jeff DownsToday, I was reminded of a recent article in Ministry & Leadership the magazine of Reformed Theological Seminary titled "Delighting in the Church?", by Guy Waters. You can read the article when you click here (PDF). The article is adapted from Waters' book How Jesus Runs the Church (P&R, 2011).
Here is a sample from the article:
According to Scripture, however, membership in the local church is not merely desirable, but necessary. In the New Testament, we see a recurring pattern: the Word is preached, people profess faith, and they gather locally into congregations ruled by Christ through a government He has appointed (Acts 2:47, 14:23; Titus 1:5). Believers are commanded to give due submission to the elders (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13), and the elders are charged with the oversight of believersí souls (Hebrews 13:17). This set of commands assumes that believers and church leaders have an acknowledged relationship with one another. This relationship comes into existence when a believer commits to join the church. Therefore, when the Scripture calls Christians to delight in the church, it calls them to delight not only in the worldwide church, but also in the local church of which they are members.
01/10/2012 - Jeff DownsAfter listening to today's Dividing Line and hearing Anthony from Colorado ask the question regarding the importance of church membership, I was reminded of one of the best lectures I've heard on this issue. The speaker is Dr. Mark Herzer, a Presbyterian pastor in Penn., and also an adjunct faculty at Greenville Seminary.
The Lecture is titled "The Church: The Covenant Community" and can be heard by clicking here. A PDF of the lecture is located here
Mark is a very good theologian. He is actually on campus this week. I was listening at the door for a few minutes to his lecture (on Old Testament Biblical Theology). At the time, he was pressing the point (as he was introducing himself) that he loves theology, loves reading systematics and biblical theology etc, but how important it is for these things to impact how we live our lives (he is speaking to future pastors). The example I heard, before walking away was how much of a blessing it is to be with the believers who are dying, holding their hand and comforting them as they enter into heaven.
I would highly recommed Mark's church, and work. Two additional lectures from Mark are the following:
Roman Catholicism - A View Into It's World and The Modern Roman Catholic View of Scripture.
Whenever I preach on 1 John 1, I stress the idea, because John does, of the importance of the fellowship between believers. "what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us...if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light we have fellowship with one another..." Fellowship with other believer is simply an outworking of a changed heart and ones union with Christ. If one claims to love God but not the brethren (i.e. include gathering together with them), he is not telling the truth. Let's state it as blunt as John "he is a liar."