the weblog of Alan Knox

The Church in Scripture

Posted by on Jan 30, 2009 in blog links, members, scripture | 5 comments

As most of my readers know, I’m in the PhD program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. My program of study is Biblical Theology. For my dissertation, I plan to research and write about an aspect of ecclesiology (the church) from the context of Scripture; that is, I want to answer the quest, “What does Scripture say about the church?”

It is exciting to me to read articles and blog posts from people who are doing a similar study. For example, here are two:

1) Douglas at “Douglas Weaver Ministries” examines tithing in his post “You Have Heard It Said #4“.

2) Arthur at “the voice of one crying out in suburbia” examines the concept of church membership in his post “A Call for a New Reformation in the church: Membership, schmembership“.

I appreciate that fact that these men – and many other men and women – are examining the church from Scripture. They are not questioning modern understandings of the church simply to question tradition or authority, but because they want to understand what Scripture reveals about the church.

I offered this warning to Arthur: “Be careful how closely you look into church practices… it might lead you to decide that many of the things we do aren’t found in Scripture. People won’t like that.”


5 Comments

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  1. 1-30-2009

    Alan, I really don’t have a comment as much as a request.
    Though I only know you through blogging etc. I respect your opinions and knowledge of the word.
    I would like to ask that if you ever feel I am in error on anything I post let me know. I have another brother I bounce things off of also and it helps. Especially concerning Ecclesiology and the like. I really feel a conviction from the Lord to ask this and allow it.
    Sincerely, Steven Owen

  2. 1-30-2009

    Douglas and Arthur have great blogs. Thank you for pointing us to them!

    We agree – most of what is called “church” today bears faint resemblance to what we find in the pages of the Bible. So far, I have been unable to find anything in any early source (first or second century) that describes anything remotely similar to most of today’s “churches”.

    Ironically, most of our non-Christian acquaintances understand why we choose not to be part of the IC. Our IC acquaintances, on the other hand, think we should come to their church because they need people, workers and money. A few sincerely try to understand why we don’t. Discussions usually start with something along the lines of “so you think we should have churches without toilets and electricity?”

    I can respectfully answer, but know they just don’t get it. Out of respect for those who are sincerely searching, can you point us to previous posts of yours or others than might help us briefly, respectfully explain this to the IC folks who ask?

    I’m not trying to get these people to leave the IC. On the other hand, when we are not discussing why we are not part of the IC , these same people tell me story after story about how unhappy they are with their IC.

  3. 1-31-2009

    I’m not clear as to your purpose in researching the church from the context of Scripture (apart from it being an interesting study).

    I would feely admit that “many of the things we do (in church) aren’t found in Scripture.” I don’t find this wrong. There wasn’t a printing press in Biblical times, many people couldn’t read, therefore the teaching had to allow for this. On the upside I think their capacity to listen was greater (eg. “daybreak to noon…listened attentively” Nehemiah 8:3).

    While our message doesn’t change our methods do. As I read the NT there are different structures of church depending on the culture. In some places it was customary for men to sit on one side of the building and women to sit on the other which would not work in our culture.

    I’m sure the study will be interesting I hope you get a lot out of it.

  4. 1-31-2009

    Steven,

    The same goes for me.

    Sam,

    I’ve written a couple of posts about church programs and organization. If you search for programs or organization, you’ll probably find some of those.

    Susan,

    I believe that through Scripture God helps us understand what the church should be. I agree that the forms and organizations and structures will change based on the contemporary context. The problem is, in many cases, people are more concerned with maintaining their forms, organizations, and structures than with seeing the church grow into what Scripture describes.

    -Alan

  5. 1-31-2009

    Alan,
    I am greatly blessed at being mentioned in such wonderful company.

    I am also grateful that so many brothers are speaking and writing concerning the body in our day, with a heart to see a more mature corporate expression of Christ. We do not yet know or see the reach of our efforts but are convinced of our impact by faith.

    If you need dissertation readers, count me in!