Monday, May 5, 2008

Ordination #2, Art. 9: The True Church

I haven’t been on the ball with ordination stuff like I should so I’m kind of just pounding it out right now. Any input, even if (actually, particularly if) you wonder, “What’s he talking about? Is that even a real sentence?!” would be helpful. Not sure how coherent these thoughts are, but I’m tired of looking at it and thinking about it right now. So help, please. You’re my only hope!

Here’s Article 9 with my stuff to follow.

That only those who are, thus, members of the true Church shall be eligible for
membership in the local church.

While there is a large, invisible church, there are numerous local manifestations of the universal church. Paul writes to churches in cities (1 Cor. 1.2), regions (Gal. 1.2), and even houses (Rom. 16.5). It should be the case that only members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church, we understand there will always be weeds among the wheat (Mt. 13.24-30) and we must trust that God knows who really belongs to Him (2 Tim. 2.19). One of the elements of a local church should be discipline to maintain the purity of those who proclaim themselves to be members of the church (Acts 5.1-11; 1 Cor. 5.1-5; Gal. 6.1).
Beyond church discipline, there are a handful of other elements that this local church ought to be committed to. Specifically, the church is an assembly that meets together regularly (1 Cor. 16.2; Heb. 10.25) for the purposes of worship (Eph. 5.16-19), growing toward maturity (Eph. 4.12-13), caring for one another (Acts 11.29; 2 Cor. 8.4), and making disciples of all nations (Mt. 28.19-20). The assembly of believers that constitutes a church seem to include some kind of teaching from the Scriptures (Acts 2; 1 Tim. 2) and, given the corporate nature of communion, the administration of the ordinances.

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