(Part 5 in a series on the implications of mutual edification as the purpose of the gathering of the church): I have argued previously that the purpose for the gathering of the church in the New Testament is mutual edification (1 Cor 14:26)â€”each believer building up other believers and being built up himself or herself (see here, here, and here). If most churches understand their purpose in gathering to be something other than edification (i.e. worship or evangelism), then this change in understanding will have significant implications for the contemporary church. These implications fall into both philosophical as well as practical categories.
This series will examine several of the implications of mutual edification for the gathering of the church.
Fifth, and finally, believers should remember that while certain activities may aid in the edification of the church, the activities themselves do not please God. Even eating the Lordâ€™s Supper, which Jesus commanded the church to partake in order to remember his sacrificial death, does not please God if the believers eat and drink in a way that does not build up others (1 Cor. 11:20-21).
There are many activities that believers performed during the gathering of the church in the New Testament, including teaching, reading, praying, sharing (partnership), debating, disciplining, prophesying, speaking in tongues (with interpretation), and breaking bread. However, incorporating certain activities in the meeting does not necessarily mean that the church is edifying itself. Activities do not produce a successful gathering of the church; mutual edification does.
Modern pragmatism teaches that churches should imitate the activities of other groups of believers who are â€œsuccessful.â€ Scripture teaches that churches must work to ensure that the body of Christ is built up during their meetings.
If the purpose of the gathering of the church is mutual edificatio – and I believe it is – then there are certainly other implications. If you think of other implications, tell us about them in the comments.
Implications of Mutual Edification Series:
1. Mutual Edification and Individualism
2. Mutual Edification and Leadership
3. Mutual Edification and Excellence
4. Mutual Edification and Reverence
5. Mutual Edification and Activities