The Call of the Church part II
Our call as disciples of Christ is to be the Church God has meant for us to be.
In Ephesians, Paul writes:
"so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 3:10 New Revised Standard
This is our mission and call as a church: to make known the wisdom of God in His rich variety.
Intrigued by this common mission and the great variety of kinds of churches that have developed during the centuries, I wrote my Senior Seminar Paper at Great Lakes Christian College on which marks could be called the essential marks of the church. I identified five of them.
I wrote about the first one in a former post
I would like to continue this sharing.
"Aggregation in itself cannot make a gathering a church.
Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them for their mission. The church was meant to be the very expression of the presence of God.
The church needs to acknowledge the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit in their midst if it want to be more than a social aggregation with inner rules and bylaws,
The presence of God in the form of a cloud and a fire pillar and then in the tabernacle and the temple was a distinctive mark of God’s people in the Old Testament.
The outpouring of the Spirit made it possible for this presence to go beyond any border and any geographic limitation, keeping the presence of God among His people a reality.
When the church gathers in any place or number, it gathers as a people that recognize the living presence of God in their midst.
This presence gives discernment (Matthew 18:15-20), direction (Acts 13), gifts, and ministries (Corinthians 12). It will be this presence that will empower the church to be the “ekklesia.”
This word used by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament did not refer to a gathering for worship or preaching or administration of certain sacraments, it referred to a public gathering to deal with community business.
In the marks developed in history, the church often identified the presence of God in the sacraments or the proper administration of them. The work of the Spirit in the church community, though, appears to be more directly related to the original use of the word not as a gathering of persons assembled for a particular religious rite, but as a people gathered to do business in His name, to find what it means here and now to be a disciple of Christ.
If the Spirit is at work, that means the members of the church will be required to place themselves in an attitude of submission and obedience.
 John H. Yoder, The Original Revolution (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1971), 31.
Leave a comment