Sovereign Ecclesiastical Consumers

“A growing number of evangelicals are unwilling to commit themselves to any particular congregation. Operating as sovereign ecclesiastical consumers, they hop from church to church looking for the best spiritual deal in town.”

 

“If evangelicals still value their heritage, they can lament the obscurity into which the church visible has sunk, a tragedy to which they have contributed in both word and deed.”

“Furthermore, they can commit themselves toward a rediscovery of the church in our time, not just out of faithfulness to a tradition, but in devotion to their Lord who promised, ‘I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'” 

“Evangelicals need to affirm aggressively the necessary connection between faith in Christ and commitment to his church. So called solitary or independent Christians need to be incorporated into the life and discipline of some congregation.  Those who are already church members need to remain committed to their church, taking seriously their accountability to the congregation and resisting the temptation to jump ship when problems develop.” 

“If the church is a nurturing mother for the souls of believers, as John Calvin proclaimed, those disconnected from her are nothing more than spiritual orphans. They are cut off from a vital source of spiritual nourishment and growth.  They may think that spiritual fitness is an individual matter, but their failure to participate in the corporate life of God’s people can only stunt the kind of growth in grace that the apostle Paul envisioned …”  (Christianity TodayIn Search of the Visible Church, R. Paterson).    

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (I Corinthians 3:16-17, ESV).

“It is unfortunately possible for people to attempt to build the church out of every imaginable human system predicated on merely worldly wisdom, be it philosophy, pop-psychology, managerial techniques, relational good feelings, or what have you. But at the final judgment, all such building (and perhaps countless other forms, where systems have become more important than the gospel itself) will be shown for what it is: something merely human, with no character of Christ or His gospel in it.”

“This is one of the few texts in the NT where we are exposed both to an understanding of the nature of the local church (God’s temple indwelt by His Spirit) and where the warning of v. 17 makes it clear how important the local church is to God Himself.”        

“One of the desperate needs of the church is to recapture this vision of what it is by grace, and therefore also what God intends it to be. In most Protestant circles one tends to take the local church altogether too lightly. As the temple of God they are expected to live as His alternative both to the pagan temples and to the way of life that surrounds them. …. So sacred to God is His temple that those who would destroy it (as they were doing by their quarrels and worldly wisdom) will themselves be destroyed by God (3:17)”  (Gordon Fee, I Corinthians, N.I.C.N.T., pp. 145, 149).  

Note the close connection between a commitment to Christ and to His church (Mt. 16:18; 25:40; Lk. 10:2; Acts 2:47, 9:4; I Cor. 3;6; Eph. 5:25; Heb. 6:10).   

Steve Cornell                                                                                                                                                                    

This entry was posted in Church, Church building, Church discipline, Church growth, Church Hoppers, Church Leadership, Church membership, Church Planting, Elders, Gospel-centered, Life of a pastor, Local Church, Market-Driven Churches, Pastors, Seeker Services, Spiritual inventory, Worship, Worship conflicts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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