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The Church: It All Begins With God

Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in definition | 7 comments

The Church: It All Begins With God

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.


7 Comments

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  1. 6-14-2010

    Alan,

    Thanks for this important reminder. It is easy to get carried away with talking about the need for reform within the church and forget that it is God’s church in the first place.

  2. 6-14-2010

    I was just thinking this morning how much more I am aware of the need for God to act for a church to be formed (as I’m involved in that work). Truly, this captures what I’m seeing and feeling these days: “The church begins with God. God creating and re-creating in a way that we can never completely understand, but in a way that we must trust (have faith). It all begins with God.”

    As you say, our beliefs are demonstrated in our actions. This new sense of dependency has changed my prayer life and is teaching me to be both thankful and restful in Him.

  3. 6-14-2010

    Eric,

    Yes, it is God’s church. There were many, many ekklesiai in the Roman world, but only one of them was God’s ekklesia.

    Art,

    Form, function, etc… all depend on God.

    -Alan

  4. 6-14-2010

    Alan,

    Yes! It begins with God,continues with God revealed in Jesus Christ, and end with Him in eternity.

    Looking forward with anticipation.

  5. 6-15-2010

    Aussie John,

    That’s a good way to put it… I would probably add something like this: “is empowered by Holy Spirit”.

    -Alan

  6. 8-6-2013

    Hi Allen,

    Some very good starting thoughts in understanding who God sees His church to be.

    One thing I would add in this understanding of church is that God is a relational being i.e. God loves the Son & the Son reflects that love to the Father thru the HS. God gives His life to the Son & the Son lives by that life thru the HS. Because of this flow of life & love, His church is created to be a reflection of this same kind of flow of His love & life with in/between us & back to Him and to all those in the world.

    IN CHRIST,
    David H. Lucas
    Merritt Island, FL.

  7. 8-6-2013

    David,

    Yes, God is relational, both among himself (i.e., Father-Son-Spirit) and also with us.

    -Alan

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