Saturday, 22 October 2011

About church: a note to myself

Of many areas of theology, the theology of church has been the most difficult for me. I think I can give a definition of church, a gathering of Christians. And yet, I often find myself qualifying that definition, having noticed that seminaries, mission organisations, or denominations are NOT church, even though they are "gatherings of Christians", are they not?

 I don't know when I will grasp the meaning or the reality of church more clearly, but here's a few articles that I found helpful in thinking about church.

That second article is titled strongly for a purpose, nevertheless, I hope you can keep a clear head to read and comprehend what he's saying there.

I have been on his side of thinking for a long time, even as I greatly admire people like John Piper and Matt Chandler who are pastoring to multi-site churches, and are being used by God in a truly wonderful way. I believe multi-site churches are a compromise at best and should not be seen as an acceptable model.


Hank Lee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hank Lee said...

hey bro,
I'm sure you are well aware of it, but i think in reading books about church, it's quite important and helpful to understand the American context in which they are writing and writing to. I often found myself a little puzzled when I read ecclesiological books coming from America only to be able to make certain connections by understanding their context.

anyways, briefing has just published two excellent papers on the doctrine of church. both of them were delivered at a small conference, but now available in written forms -- one by Phillip and one by Mark Thompson.

If you have time, check it out.

I also found John Woodhouse's biblical theological doctrine of church quite helpful last semester. He formulate his doctrine from the gospel, and starts with Matthew 16 where Jesus promises to build his church and searches thoroughly both OT & NT and make certain implications for few areas. I will lend you my lecture notes if you want it.



Timothy Wonil Lee said...

@Hank: I saw that you expanded on your previous comment, hence, I removed it as redundant.
I agree that we must understand the authors' context to understand what they are writing about. I suppose it always applies to any writings. And the complexities in real life "church-ing" do place various different challenges for congregations and their pastors. So, I will think twice about pointing a finger at anybody. Nevertheless, I believe there are biblical imperatives and a model for church, which I'm trying to discern.

I listened to and read "what is church for?" talk by PJ and it was very helpful. When I do more serious studies into church, I'll have to revisit it.

I was a little overwhelmed by the length of the other article you mentioned (I mean, the title saying, extended, wasn't so encouraging for me), and haven't got around to read it yet. :-( Should get to it soon.

Oh, and I'll be interested in reading the notes you mentioned too. I'll ask you for the notes one day.