What is the Church?

What is a true Christian Church?  Is it the name?  Some denominations have one of the names of God: Church of God, Apostolic Church of God, Church of the Nazarene, Christ Covenant, and Assembly of God.  Some are named with reference to the Bible: Beacon Bible Church, Church of the Living Word, Word of Life Church, Word of Faith, Bible Way, Community Bible Church and Bible Church.  There are Methodists, Baptists, Christian, Presbyterian, Christian Missionary Alliance, Covenant, Lutheran, Episcopalian Pentecostal, Calvary and on and on.

Is the church the style of worship?  There are churches with traditional styled services.  There are churches with contemporary styled services.  There are churches with celebration styled worship.  There are churches with sacramental styled worship. There are churches with no music in their services.  Some churches have light shows and modern stage presentations.  There are churches with pews and others with chairs.  There are churches that are big but most are small with less than 100 members.

All Christian churches are divided first into one of three areas.  Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. From there the divisions and branches are too numerous to go any further.

What the true mark of a true Christian Church are core beliefs? Those core understandings of God are what makes a church a Church.  Looking carefully at belief systems of many churches, most fall into specific core beliefs.  There are as many, what I would call periphery beliefs from style of baptism, to stands on the Gifts of the Spirit.

Now you wouldn’t be reading this unless you were willing to hear what I have to say makes the true Christian Church.

In the true Church the following is true:

  1. A belief in God as defined as belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
  2. The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints.
    1. The church membership requires salvation of the individual by faith.
    2. The church member is sent to propagate and extend the benefits of the saving grace of God.
  3. Jesus is Lord.
    1. Christ’s second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful.
    2. Jesus is the head of the church. Jesus is Lord.  Jesus is the ruler.
    3. Jesus is the purpose of everything that is done. This single core belief calls the church together as a community.  If the Church does not have Jesus as the purpose it is not a Christian Church.
    4. Jesus is the method of salvation. Only in belief in the forgiving power of Jesus is the power of salvation.
    5. The death, descent into hell, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.
    6. Christ’s second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful.

So enough with the technical and theology.  My idea of a Christian Church is a church were a united community of believers are called together to worship and empowered to go out to the world with hope and purpose.  It is a place where the past never defines the believer’s future.  In my Church there is always redemption.  That redemption there is always a new brighter, blessed, hope filled day coming.  In my ideal church no one thinks himself better than anyone else.  Even to a point that my church is not any better than any other in town.  In my church each believer is doing the best that can be done at being the best we can be.  In my church there is a belief that we believe in God and God believes in us.  The ideal church, believers would not think less of those who do not believe like us, but there is an active pursuance of them in the same love that pursues us.

At my church the believers are still learning.  Learning to learn with an appetite directed to the scriptures.  Learning to serve God and neighbors with a joy in their hearts.  Believers are learning to worship God in more of their lives than just Sunday morning.  It is worship with the entire being and everything that is done. It is a congregation of believers that live, breath, cry, laugh, and love for God’s glory, honor, praise, and fame.  There is no place for an “I” in Church.

Caution must be had here.  There is no perfect church.  Believers still make mistakes.  Leadership make mistakes.  The difference is what is done in response to error.  The true believer, the leader, the church itself has to choose to not to give up.  It is a choice to use that failure as a stepping stone to growth.

The true church is part of the world of believers held together by the resurrection of Jesus.

The true church the believers choose to believe that God is real and God wants the best in us and for us.  The church the believers strive to server others in need of a touch, a prayer, meal, or a hug.  The true church is the hands and the feet of Jesus.

The true church is always inviting, loving, hoping, living, worshiping, praying, smiling amid tears, learning, and being more than the total of the lives of the believers.

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