Thursday, July 7, 2011

Something We Can Agree Upon

As Christians we can all agree that followers of Jesus should gather together on a regular basis. This may sound painfully obvious, and it is. However, so many discussions related to church gatherings, worship services, etc. focus on the disagreement that we forget that we actually agree on many things. Most important of these, of course, is that Jesus Christ is Lord. Related to the church, we agree that we are Christ's people, redeemed by His blood for His glory. We have a shared mission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

As for church meetings, we can unite in the fact that they should happen. It is when we begin to look at the nature of these meetings that the disagreement begins. My hope is that as we discuss these important things, we remember that who unites us is truly greater than any disagreements we may have.

6 comments:

Joel Zehring said...

Excellent thought. Lately I've been convicted of my tendency to obsess about the things with which I disagree, rather than focusing on Jesus.

Here's my question: would you agree that when two or more are gathered in Christ's name, it's church?

With all that is described in scripture (or prescribed, depending on your interpretation), is the "two or more in Jesus name" standard too simplistic to qualify as church?

Thanks. I'm hoping to get multiple perspectives on this question from people more knowledgeable than myself.

Eric said...

Joel,

Thanks. My hope is that we Christians can have hearty discussions and even debate within the context of Christian unity. We should be able to do so. I hope I'm learning how to.

As for your question, all Christians make up the church, so I'm not sure what you mean when you write, "...it's church?". Could you add a little detail please? I'd like to answer, but I want to make sure I know what you are talking about. Thanks.

From the Wilderness... said...

Eric,
As I mentioned in a past comment on your blog, my wife and I have walked away from the traditional church. However, even more than that, we have not regularly met with any kind of church in 2-3 years. Since I left, I've been happier and felt more fulfilled and more genuine as a person than I ever have before. But I still keenly feel the need to interact with other Christians and make it a point to spend time with believers at work and those who live close to us.

Following up on what Joel mentioned, could it be the case that my experiences outside the institutional church, with "2 or more" believers together has more reality or life in it than the regular meetings you mention with larger and possibly more stagnant groups?

Eric said...

FOM,

I think your interactions with other Christians could be much more edifying and encouraging than what many are involved in today. Right now it is Sunday morning and millions of American Christians will unthinkingly go to worship services that produce little to no edification.

As long as your interactions with brothers ans sisters in Christ give the opportunity for the building up of the body, then it seems like a good idea to me.

Joel Zehring said...

My question is one of terminology. What essential elements must be present among a group of people to define them as a church?

Is it enough that two or more people meet together in the name of Jesus? Can those two people, for duration of that meeting, be called a church? Are there other elements that must be present to qualify as a church?

Eric said...

Joel,

Those are important, interesting, and tough questions. I can't give you any rock-solid answers. I know that in the bible the churches in an area were composed of all the Christians in that area. Paul's letters are written to all the Christians in certain places.

Scripture doesn't seem to define local churches for us. Churches do certain things some of the time when they gather (pray, teach, sing, eat). But these are things they do, not what they are.

I wish I had clearer answers. However, the bible doesn't seem to provide us with what we're looking for. Maybe we're asking something that the writers of scripture purposely did not answer.