Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Church Purpose

With the church being in such a state of flux with leaders trying to discover where to go and how to get there, what works and what doesn't, I simply pose one question: What is the purpose of the church. Why is it in existance? What is it to be about in this present age?
It would be interesting to hear the answers by many who are involved in dialogue and writing about the church, where it's at and where it's going.
What do you think?

Before we can examine the purpose of the church, we must first define who or what the church is. What is the church? Christ's body - those in whom He dwells NOW by His Spirit. What is the purpose of the church? To be bearers of His Presence, vessels of His Love, demonstrations of His Mercy in this world. We are to be reflections, clear representations of who He is NOW. The emphasis is on "being", not "doing". Our Western minds gravitate towards "doing" when we talk of purpose, but I believe the Lord would first have us "be". When we get the "being" right, the "doing" will follow.
RIGHT ON!!! Your point is well taken as we consider the final recorded statement of Jesus before he ascended to his Father. He said, "you shall be my witnesses." But we have twisted his words by saying that we must go and "do witnessing."
Do you suppose the church is sometimes wrong?

I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, but in the same way the original branches (Israel) were cut off and new branches were grafted in (Gentile believers) -- and these are Paul's words, not mine -- might as also believe that the Church has failed Christ many times in its history? Was the rise of the Roman Orthodox theocracy the example of infidelity of the church with the Roman government? And might today's western protestant movement also be committing adultry with America's Republican party?

It's hard these days to separate religion and politics, and in the West, there's a knee jerk reaction by Christians to follow immediate alignment with the Republican Party, and I wonder if the Church can really push towards social justice and equality and the spreading of the Good News when it's flirting with the Corporate world and with a sense of nationalism?

just some thoughts...
side note -- yes, I know that Paul states that Israel will be restored once the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in (Romans 11)
jovial cynic,
Throughout history, the church has appeared to "blow it" far more than what we would care to admit. I guess we shouldn't be surprised when we think of how often we as individual believers have blown it. Recognizing that the church is the corporate expression of individual believers enables us to exercise more grace for the church. However, in exercising more grace, we don't deny the problems that exist, such as the embracing of political parties. This has always proven to be disastrous. Our hope rests in Christ, who is building his church, and will ultimately have for himself what he intended from the beginning.
carman - you and I know this. But I think the fact that many people in church culture are unaware of this is a key problem, and perhaps a key failing in the actual education of church ministry and history. It's a bit like a corporate executive not letting employees know about the failings of the business, and feeding propaganda down the ranks.

I'm in favor of a christian revolution that overthrows the current system, personally... but you know... nothing violent or anything. :)
jovial cynic,
I believe the revolution has already begun. However, it isn't anything that man has initiated. Instead, it's been initiated by the Spirit of God in accordance with God's will.
When he gets done transforming his church, it will bear little or no resemblance to what we have known. The present form will probably still exist, but it will be the dead carcass of a bygone era. The real church pulsating with the life of God will be a whole different entity. We are beginning to see it happen even now in ever increasing measure.
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