This week, I’m going to write a few posts on “The Church.” (Ha!) Seriously, I’ve prepared a series to publish this week that explains the basis of my ecclesiology. Now, “ecclesiology” is just a big word that means “understanding of or study of the church.” You see, if you’re simply talking concepts, then ecclesiology can mean “the study of the church.” But, concepts should be put into action, in which case our actions demonstrate what we really understand about the church (or any other topic, for that matter).
So, in our study, our understand, and our actions concerning the church, it must all begin with God. This is where Scripture begins also, right? “In the beginning, God…” (Genesis 1:1) Scripture doesn’t attempt to explain God to us, or to prove God to us. Instead, the authors of Scripture accepted the existence of God, lived their life in his existence, and wrote to people who already believed that God existed.
The church begins with God also. We can’t begin to study the church without considering the creative activity of God. For some reason, in his wisdom and power, God chose to create. And, as a final exclamatory act of creation, God made mankind in his image. This image included mankind as male and female, and it included mankind as relational beings. From the beginning, mankind was intended to relate to God and to relate to one another.
When mankind disobeyed God, and when God cursed his creation, God chose to re-create. And, as personal as creation was to God, re-creation was even more personal. As involved as God was in the act of creation, he became even more intimately involved in the act of re-creation.
The church does not exist apart from God, and the church does not exist apart from the intimately personal and ongoing re-creative activity of God.
Studying, or understanding, or living as the church does not begin with a study of the Greek term “ekklesia” or with a proper understanding of scriptural passages. The church begins with God. God creating and re-creating in a way that we can never completely understanding, but in a way that we must trust (have faith). It all begins with God.