the weblog of Alan Knox

True marks of the church

Posted by on Mar 3, 2009 in edification, gathering, love | 2 comments

Thank you to Dave Black for reminding us of “the true marks of the church” (Sunday, March 1, 2:42 pm):

Our fellowship has the true marks of the church — love for Christ and love for others. However biblical a church may be, however orthodox its theology, however properly it may “observe the sacraments,” however accurately it may “preach the Word,” it is not a true church unless it is characterized by love and mutual edification. So let me thank the sister who reminded me this morning of the importance of forgiveness, the brother who reminded me that church is not a place but a people, the sister who reminded me that God is still in the miracle-working business, and the brother who reminded me that I am saved by grace alone. I have not earned it, nor could I earn it.

I also thank God for those brothers and sisters in Christ who often demonstrate “the true marks of the chruch” toward us and those around them.


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  1. 3-3-2009

    I would certainly agree that there are plenty of orthodox churches who are theologically solid but lacking in love, maybe not in love for Christ but certainly in love for one another. But it sounds like it is an either-or issue, or that one is more important than another. Can you have a true church without love for one another and for Christ? No. But can you have a true church without the truths of the Gospel, of who Christ is, of how sinners are reconciled to a just and holy God? No! Loving Christ sounds great, even loving one another sounds great but outside of the framework of Christ as God and Savior and Lord, and seeing those around us not as lazy or just unlucky but image bearers of God is vital to love. If asked should we seek love or truth, I say “yes!”.

  2. 3-3-2009


    I don’t think Dave Black would disagree with you. I know that I agree with you… with one caveat… The truths of the gospel are not propositional truths, but life changing truths that affect the manner in which we treat other people. As John wrote, if we don’t love other people then we don’t love God (regardless of what we say about our love of God).