Ecclesiology

Review - The Church of the Fundamentalists

Larry Oats prefaces his new book, The Church of the Fundamentalists, by noting “While much has been written on the histories of the fundamentalist and evangelical movement, the theological basis of that division has frequently been overlooked. The purpose of this book is to examine how the ecclesiologies of mid-twentieth century fundamentalists and evangelicals affected their views of ecclesiastical separation and how those views led individuals to establish, abandon, or modify their views of ecclesiastical separation.” In other words, the controversies swirling around the fundamentalist issue center on the question, “What is the church supposed to be?”

The book contains four chapters with an introduction and conclusion in its 176 pages. The first chapter surveys “Varieties of Ecclesiologies,” really a survey of the “primary historical views of the nature of the church.” (25) This background is necessary in order to understand the theology driving the fundamentalist-vs.-evangelical answers to this central question. Read more about Review - The Church of the Fundamentalists

Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 3

Introduced by Pastor Ed Vasicek. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Here is the last part of our “Purpose and Principles” document, developed and unanimously approved by our 1996 Elders’ Board. It grapples with what we consider to be reasonable and the proper balance in matters of how we conduct services, when we separate, and political activity. It continues to explain what makes our church distinct from both mainline churches and other evangelical churches. This line in particular grips me: “Our concern is that we are headed toward involving our people in edification and ministry, not matching anyone’s model.”

Views on Ministries

Read more about Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 3

Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 2

Introduced by Pastor Ed Vasicek. Read Part 1.

In the first installment of our “Purpose and Principles of Highland Park Church” document, I explained how the elders (1996) unanimously embraced the views expressed in it, and that this document still represents my viewpoint.

When I tell folks, “I don’t want our church to be like other churches,” they almost always say, “I don’t either.” But we often mean different things by that statement. This document goes a long way toward explaining what I mean.

Last time, we saw that involving a lot of people in our gatherings (body life) was key to our view of a successful church. We look at edification as the template and rubric for our services. This is one of the major, intentional distinctives between our church and most others in our area. While many other churches are putting their “best” in the limelight, we want to develop our people via participation and body life (as we understand the Bible to mandate). We also want people to be attracted to HPC because they see God at work in our people (not just a few), and we want to showcase that reality as much as we can. Read more about Purpose & Principles of a Local Church, Part 2

Purpose & Principles of a Local Church

Sometimes people think I or our elders don’t know the rules for the game of “doing church.” In many ways, however, the difference between HPC (Highland Park Church) and more typical approaches is intentionally engineered based upon convictions and understandings derived from a fresh study of the Word back in 1995-6.

Besides studying relevant Scripture portions, the elders (yours truly included) read Gene Getz’s book, “Sharpening the Focus of the Church” as prerequisite preparation. We had a second meeting every month for the better part of a year to construct this document. When you consider all the individual work we did at home, this was quite an undertaking.

Our approach was to be different from the typical conservative evangelical/ fundamental church by trying to get as many people involved as possible in our services and church life. One key statement is, “We want people to be attracted to HPC primarily because they see God at work in the lives of our people.” Read more about Purpose & Principles of a Local Church

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