In New Testament times, baptism served as one of the clearest proofs that a person had accepted Christ. Baptism was not entered into casually or routinely as is often the case today. Although it is clear in the New Testament that baptism does not save, to be baptized was to signify in no uncertain terms that one had received Christ and was also associating himself with the Christian group, the church.
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When talking with people about what is “church” I often hear someone say, “But hey, the Bible says ‘where two are gathered in Jesus’ name, I am with you.’ People will often use this phrase to describe how a small group is a church. Yet, the context of that passage has nothing to do with what a church is or what a church does. In Matt 18:19-20 the context is correcting another believer and prayer, not what is or is not a church.
Photo Credit: Peter’s First Preaching (The Bible and Its Story, vol 10)
With that said, let’s look at what the church actually is. From my understanding of the Bible there are seven key elements of a church.
I. MAKE DISCIPLES
First, the church is commanded to go into all nations and make disciples. Continue Reading…
Today I take a brief look at the doctrine of the church. This is commonly known as “ecclesiology.” I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith. That statement reads:
The Church. Article #7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
Photo Credit: Russ Harlan
I. JUSTIFICATION, GRACE, AND FAITH
A. Justification Continue Reading…