Read Part 1 here
Church (n): the spotless and pure bride of Christ (Eph 5)
Believer’s Baptism seems like a funny place to continue our discussion, but hang with me. “Believer’s Baptism” says that you cannot be baptized until you have first trusted Christ for salvation, thus following the biblical model. Those who hold to this model generally also hold to the teaching that you cannot join the church until you have been baptized. And in baptism the believer is counseled and is sure of his decision to repent and trust Christ. So, in effect, to join the church as a member, a person has been vetted, if you will, and joins in like faith and like mind. He is a member of the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, as part of the ecclessia. Ecclessia is the Greek word meaning “assembly”; in other words, the assembling together of those who have been saved, baptized, and brought into the body of the local church.
We assemble. As a majority. This gives strength to the body of Christ. Any schisms or disagreements are to be addressed in the common Spirit that we all have. This is the biblical model of a church. How does this differ from some models today, you ask. I’m glad you asked.
The New Testament church assembled together, and then went out to evangelize and bring others in. I’m sure there was a visitor here and there, and they probably had their version of “Friend Day”, but on the whole they went out. Why? They knew that their lost friends would not enjoy assembling with them and worshipping a God they currently were rejecting! We worship in Spirit and truth. The lost world has neither. So why do some have this idea that we can create an assembly that will simulatneously glorify God and attract “seekers” who are lost? Creating a service atmosphere of this nature, in my opinion, requires removing much of the spiritual content and “meat” (doctrine) from the service. This has two damaging effects:
1) it dilutes the church body
2) it gives “seekers” a false assurance of their present state
In conclusion: 1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The strongest church is the one that assembles together as a body and energizes people to go out and do the work of God, ultimately bringing others into the body. It is this strength of the body, soundly holding up the light of Jesus, that changes lives. It is not a church’s job to dilute things and make the message palatable to the lost world. It is a churches job to shine the Light.
Do you agree? Is there a limit to how acceptable the content of a church service should be to the lost?