church study

The Crippling of the Local Church

While looking at the New Testament church I started off with a few basic assumptions (the church consists of people, the church’s existence is based on specific historical requirements and the church’s leadership, Christ, is divine). Flowing from these assumptions I pointed out a goal of the church tied directly to the purpose of the sent Holy Spirit (firstly to edify the church by teaching and comforting and secondly to convict the World of sin, righteousness and judgment).

As such, I specified seven markers which outlined the boundaries of the church: (1) the Lord’s Supper, (2) baptizing disciples, (3) loving one another, (4) disciplining its own members, (5) pure worship practices, (6) pure moral practice, (7) preaching the Word, (8) and leadership. The question now arises: can a church count as such if it fails in any of these eight boundary markers?


What Does The Church Look Like?

So far, I’ve assumed certain things: (1) the church is made up of People, (2) The church’s existence is based on historical prerequisites (3) The church’s leadership is divine and an unmentioned 4th. I covered some entailments of these by pointing out that the church’s purpose is linked with the work of God, the Holy Spirit, living in the church. With such underpinnings in place one wonders what the local expression of the universal church might look like. I mean, is it merely Two or Three non-speaking Christians at the local bodega/grocery store? Is it maybe a married Christian couple taking a nap? There are some things, both positive and negative that demarcates the boundary lines of a local expression of The Church Universal: what are they?

brethren church

Assumptions For A New Testament Church

Congregational and Bible Churches have long raised a banner that lays claim to New Testament Principles. Disagreeing vehemently with their banners, hierarchal churches within the single pastor systems have taken to questioning Congregational reasoning and shaken sympathetic pastoral heads. Over all this the Roman Catholic Church has pointed to the shaky claims of the entire Protestant movement, stuck its thumbs in its theological breeches and scoffed. But I have to ask: who is right? What does a church established on New Testament principles actually look like?

personal religion rey's a point

Speaking Hands

Two expressive hands, punctuating sentences with either callous, dismissive waves or dour, exasperated shrugs. That’s what I remember about my recent exchanges with friends of mine. Somehow the conversation turns to the benefits of this preached sermon or a visit to a recent church and of their own volition, like lawyers in court shouting “objection!”, my hands are up and waving.

church history worship

The Beat of Just One Drum: Music in Church

In Politics, certain subjects took on a political endangering quality. Social Security has been labeled the Third Rail of American Politics specifically because it’s so charged and touching it meant death for a person’s political career. In the same way certain subjects do the same for professional careers, conversations and churches. For churches in particular, the third rail is Music: time for me to waltz on it.

You go into any Church during their service, listen to the music and note your first reaction. I don’t mean the piety of your reaction, like the part that you say “Praise God!” I mean the part of your reaction where you decide that the specific sound you’re hearing is a Good Expression of True Worship.  That reaction will clue you in on what you’re approach to music in church is.

Is there a right approach to music or is it just a matter of taste? Does Music have a place in Christian worship or is it more a distraction that what it’s worth?