the weblog of Alan Knox

Defining and Describing the Church

Posted by on Apr 5, 2010 in blog links, definition | 2 comments

I read two good descriptions/definitions of the church this morning:

The first was from Guy at “the M blog” in his post “Definitions of church“:

A New Testament church is a small local gathering of believers usually meeting in homes. They are knitted together as a spiritual family with Christ as Head. Everyone contributes towards mutual edification out of what has been given to them by the Lord. Churches are characterized by their devotion to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. The environment is one where everyone is stimulated to love one another and do good deeds as they encourage one another to obey all the commands of Christ.

The second came from Frank at “Reimagining Church” in his post “Church Defined & My Favorite Resurrection Song“:

Rightly conceived, the church is a local group of people who have been immersed and saturated with a magnificent vision of Jesus Christ and who are discovering how to take Him as their All together and bring Him to the world.

The church of Jesus Christ expressed locally is a group of people who are learning how to live by Divine life together and how to display that life together. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” . . . “Christ our Life.”

What do you think?


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  1. 4-5-2010

    I’m always bothered when we think a group of people can self-select their own members and borders and call themselves a church distinct from all other believers in their locality. For those who speak of “organic” church, this seems blatantly artificial. But this can be semantics, depending on how they practically carry this out.

    If they understand themselves to be part all the other Christians in their locality, and if they act on that understanding by collaborating, sharing resources, intertwining in ministry within and ministry without, then the issue is only semantics.

    If, on the other hand, this group of saints separates and distinguishes themselves as an independent and unique “church” with no functional ties to other Christians in their locality, then I have serious concerns for the message they are sending and the ways they are limiting God. (Determining if this is the case not only involves what they think, but what their actions make Christians in the surrounding area and unbelievers in the surrounding think). Jn 17 seems to indicate this matters to the lost.

  2. 4-6-2010


    I agree. Sectarianism and isolationism are always detrimental to the church.