Ecclesiology

Doing Church Away from Church isn’t Church

Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.

by Eric Davis

Maybe you’ve heard it. “We can’t make it to church today, so we’ll just do church as a family.” “I can just do church on a hike this morning in God’s creation.” “The church is really the people, so we can do church wherever. God is everywhere, after all.”

Do we really need to go to a building on a certain day for it to count as doing church? If so, isn’t that legalistic?

It’s becoming increasingly popular to fashion new ways to “do church.” But how do we discern what does and does not constitute going to church? God’s word has plenty of wisdom on the issue.

In short, my hike or a Bible open in my living room with the kids is not church. Here are a few reasons why doing church away from church isn’t church.

1. We wouldn’t approach other areas of life like that.

To assert that we can do church away from church is an unparalleled way to approach life events. Do we approach other areas of life like that?

Husbands, next time you’ve scheduled a family day, just before it happens, tell your wives, “Honey, I’m actually going to do our family time on a solo-camping trip. But I’ll think about you and the kids while I’m sitting out there with the dog and my knife cramming Spam in my mouth. It still counts as family time, right? We don’t have to be all legalistic, honey.”

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When Your Church Disappoints

Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.

by Eric Davis

Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not.

Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.

Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:

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Theology Thursday - Calvin on the Errors of the Separatists

John Calvin is most often known for his views on soteriology, anthropology and theology proper. He actually wrote a great deal more than this, of course. However, many Christians have not bothered to read anything else from him. In this excerpt, Calvin explains what a Christian’s duty is to a true church, and the grace Christians should show to one another in matters of minor disagreement. Indeed, Calvin believed we should “pardon delusion” amongst ourselves on unimportant issues. We should refrain from “inconsiderate zeal” and “immoderate severity.”

I’ll let Calvin explain the rest:1

We have said that the symbols by which the Church is discerned are the preaching of the word and the observance of the sacraments, for these cannot any where exist without producing fruit and prospering by the blessing of God. I say not that wherever the word is preached fruit immediately appears; but that in every place where it is received, and has a fixed abode, it uniformly displays its efficacy.

Be this as it may, when the preaching of the gospel is reverently heard, and the sacraments are not neglected, there for the time the face of the Church appears without deception or ambiguity; and no man may with impunity spurn her authority, or reject her admonitions, or resist her counsels, or make sport of her censures, far less revolt from her, and violate her unity.

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Understanding the Purpose of the Church, Part 2

Republished from Baptist Bulletin March/April 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved. Read Part 1.

Instruction

The saints need instruction, and for this purpose the Lord has not only sent the Holy Spirit and His Word, but has given as gifts to the churches evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11–15). (It appears that the apostles and prophets ceased with the apostolic era. They are no longer needed since the Word of God has been given.)

The saints need the ministry of teaching and should attend faithfully the preaching of the Word (Heb. 10:24, 25). We should cry out to the Lord to raise up such ministers of the Word out of our churches, and every care should be taken to sustain them as well as to train them in His ministry.

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Understanding the Purpose of the Church, Part 1

Republished from Baptist Bulletin March/April 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved.

By Paul R. Jackson

Soon after entering the ministry, I heard a man who had graduated from a modernistic seminary say, “The primary business of the church is to equalize the wealth of the world in the hands of the people.” He may have had good motives, but he had poor theology! He did not find this objective for the church’s ministry in the Book. Even the Lord Jesus said, “For the poor always ye have with you” (John 12:8). Certainly Christians should do all that is possible to comfort and relieve poverty and suffering, but the primary ministry of the church is not social and economic. Wonderful social and economic reactions result from a Biblical ministry, but they are the by-products of lives transformed by divine grace as the church preaches the message of personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Probably nothing about the church is more confused in the minds of men than its objective. What is the purpose of the church? Why did the Lord build the church?

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