This week, I’m publishing a few posts on “The Church” which explain the basis of my ecclesiology. In the first post, I said that our understanding of the church must begin with God. (see “The Church: It All Begins with God“)
In particular, I would say that the church is a result of God’s re-creative work, but not a direct result. What do I mean?
The direct result of God’s re-creative work are people who can now rightly relate to God because they have been justified by God and have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the direct result of God’s re-creative work (as was the direct result of God’s creative work) is a new mankind (new creatures, if you will).
So, because God chose to re-create people through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we become children of God. I am a child of God (and you are a child of God) as a direct result of God’s re-creative work.
God’s mission becomes our mission because he is our father. God’s love becomes our love because we are his children. We are all God’s family because of our relationship to him. I realize this last statement seems obvious, but the implications are huge. So, I want to spell it out a little more clearly.
We are family together with one another because we are children of the same father. God is our father, and thus, you and I are brother and/or sister. We cannot choose who is part of our family and who is not part of our family. If God has accepted someone, then we (by default) must accept them as well.
So, before we begin to worry about who we gather with, and how we should gather, and who our leaders are, we must understand who we are to God and to one another. This is the second major point in my ecclesiology.
First, it all beings with God. But, second, and closely related to the first point, we are children of God and, therefore, family with one another. That is, we are family with anyone else who is a child of God. Our relationship with God and our relationship with one another is not dependent upon our work, but upon the re-creative work of God.