Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Wineskins For New Wine

I believe that without mission the church dies. Although what we ordinarily call the church may continue to exist as a religious group, a missionless church is no longer an authentic church. The proof of its missionary character will be demonstrated by its response to the world.

W. A. Visser ‘t Hooft proposed that missionary witness is a test of Christian faith because of three requirements:
• In the missionary situation the church must demonstrate that it actually believes in the “happenedness” of
what God has done in Jesus Christ.
• In the missionary situation the church must declare whether it believes in the universal claims of the Gospel.
• In the missionary situation the church must affirm that God’s Word is not bound to any one culture, and especially not to Western cultural forms

These requirements put the church on notice that it carries special responsibilities in relation to both God and the world. No other body or religious group is defined by these three criteria. When the church no longer makes these affirmations, it has changed character and has forfeited its distinctive purpose.

Do you agree? Why or why not?


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

No. I do not agree.

Most wrong ecclesiologies are wrong because they identify the Church with what it does, rather than by what it is.

The Church is grounded in the unity of all believers in Christ. If that unity exists in a locality, there is a true local church.
If there is no support for mission in that assembly, it has a serious problem, but it is still a church.

However, I would maintain that there are no true churches today anyway, as the unity of the Church of God on earth has been entirely lost. There are only meetings of Christians, some on correct principles, the majority on wrong principles.

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, what is your definition of Church?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks for the question.

The Church is that people who are united to Christ in heavenly places and who are collectively united to each other by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost on earth.

A true local church is the visible expression of this people in a locality.

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Hey Matthew, what do you mean by people who are united to Christ in 'heavenly places'? Where is the biblical basis on that?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Ephesians 1

3 ¶ "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

Ephesians 2
4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, Col. 2.13 (by grace ye are saved;)

6 and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus."

11 ¶ "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; Col. 2.14 for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, Col. 1.20 having slain the enmity thereby:

17 and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. Is. 57.19

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"

1 Peter 1
3 ¶ "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"

Revelation 22
3 "And there shall be no more curse: Zech. 14.11 but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: Is. 60.19 and they shall reign for ever and ever.

We are united to Christ who is in heaven. He is the object of our hopes and desires. We are His heavenly bride. We have no place or part on the earth for we are pilgrims and strangers upon it. God's plan to restore the original blessedness of the earth for Israel and the other nations is not soemthing that concerns the Church, for we are called from the world to enjoy heaven.

We are not the restoration of earthly humanity, but rather a new kind of humanity, a spiritual aristocracy to govern God's new restore creation.

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Good thoughts Matthew, but what do you think of the idea that we are the stewards of the earth?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Humanity is, but it has falied in that task.

The new heavenly humanity of the church will share Christ's reign in the Millennium and the eternal state. This supervision will enable earthly humanity (the nations) to be restored to their position of stewardship over creation.

Every Blessing in Christ