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In many ways, the church will look and act differently in different contexts

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 in blog links | 2 comments

In many ways, the church will look and act differently in different contexts

Continuing a discussion that Swanny started last week, Arthur at “The Voice of One Crying Out in Surburia” has written a very good post called “Why Trumps How.”

As usual, Arthur adds a great deal of wisdom and personal insight to this discussion. I particularly appreciate the way he brings his own journey into the topic. He recognizes that he started his search for understanding “church” by heading in a certain direction. Since then, God has changed his course slightly.

Here is part of what Arthur says:

If I am honest, I need to say that when I first started down this path, I assumed that a “house church” was, if not a silver bullet, at least a step in the right direction. I am not looking for a house church model or organic church model even though I think that comparatively it is far more conducive for an environment of mutual edification. I am also not looking for a “Reformed” church even though I am largely in agreement with the tenets of Reformed theology nor am I looking for an “Anabaptist church” although I see much that I admire in the Anabaptist tradition. I am looking for God’s church, His people living in community with one another. That means that I am looking for community among God’s people where His people are in an environment of mutual edification, loving support, rebuke and discipline where needed and a sharing of lives that goes beyond Sunday meetings whatever the form. It also means that it will look different in different contexts.

Arthur’s statement above – as well as other statements in his post that I did not quote – shows the difficulty of working within church models. Unless the model itself is flexible enough to change itself (which would then lead to a different model?), then it will necessarily hinder the growth and maturity of the church. (Think about how a mold shapes a cookie.)

Jesus shapes his church organization and gathering through his people, not the other way around. When the people are different, then in many ways the church should look and act differently as well. Will there be some similarities? Sure. But even these similarities can look differently from the outside.

Whether you agree with me on this point or not, I have a question: Why do you think “church models” are so attractive to people?


2 Comments

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  1. 12-2-2011

    models tend toward framework for working in/with the abstract. Functions being how we interact with the concrete/real (including spiritual things).
    The ekklesia doesn’t “model”, it functions.
    “love one another”, “feed the hungry”, “clothe the naked”, “feed My sheep”, “all things be done for edification”, “that you all agree”… depict function. Jesus Christ being the Chief and Living model for these and much more. Even so, what we each & together need most is for Him to function in/through us.
    it is function, rather than model, as expression of the Master’s life in His people.

  2. 12-5-2011

    Marshall,

    There will always be different types of framework, structure, and organization for any group of people, including the church. The question for me is this: Are we willing to modify the framework, structure, and organization in response to the people involved, or do the people have to try to mold themselves to the framework, structure, and organization?

    -Alan