THEOLOGY 101Session Four: The Church
Reflection on the ChurchWhat is your perspective on the value of the church?What is her value in your life?What is her value to society?
Church: General Descriptionekklesia, gathering or assembly, church;Prior to NT used almost exclusively for secular assembliesFrom ek (out of) and kaleo (call)Focus is on the gathered body, not the act of coming outThe calling out of citizens to attend to the discussion of public business
Jesus Christ is Lord of the ChurchHe is the head of the body, the churchColossians 1.18And God has put all things under his [Christs] feet and has made him the head over all things for the church.Ephesians 1.22
Church: PurposeThe Purpose of the Church: Worship: ministry to God:Nurture: ministry to believers:Evangelism and Mercy: ministry to the worldAll three purposes of the church are commanded by the Lord in Scripture; therefore all three are important and none can be neglected. Grudem, ST, 868
Church: DistinctivesMilitant and TriumphantVisible and InvisibleOrganism and Organization
Church: Visible and Invisible (1)Basic meanings:The Visible Church Local gathering of believers and their children, Collective number of professing Christians and their children, The Invisible Church Sum total of all who are in union with Christ,
Church: Visible and Invisible (2) An organized mass of believers:Acts 8:3, But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. I Cor. 15:9, For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Gal. 1:13, For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.
Church: Organism and OrganizationOrganism: it is visible in the communal life of believers and in their opposition to the worldOrganization: Offices, administration of the Word and the Sacraments, and church government
Church: Characteristics (Marks)Preaching of the WordAdministration of the SacramentsExercise of Discipline and the Disciplines
Preaching of the WordPreach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Timothy 4:2)Everyone who does not remain true to the teaching of the Messiah, but goes beyond it, does not have God. The person who remains true to the teaching of the Messiah has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9)
Administration of the SacramentsBaptism and the Lords SupperHe that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves shall be condemned. (Mark 16:16)They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Exercise of Discipline and the Disciplines (1)God is not [a God] of confusion, but of peace let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:33-40)Whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)
Exercise of Discipline and the Disciplines (2)Spiritual disciplines: habits or regular patterns in your life that repeatedly brings you back to God and opens you up to what God is saying to you. Inward Outward Corporate Prayer Simplicity Confession Meditation Solitude Worship Fasting Submission Guidance Study Service Celebration
Church Government:Roles & ResponsibilitiesEldersMembership mattersProfession of Faith, transfer, reaffirmationPlace on inactive / dropped listDetermine special needs among peopleOversee sacraments along with pastor(s)DisciplineDeaconsServiceMercyOutreach
Church Government: Plurality of Elders (1)Acts 14:23, And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.Acts 20:17, Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
Church Government: Plurality of Elders (2)The titles Bishop and Elder appear to distinguish the same office and the same order of personsThis is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you . . . For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach.. (Titus 1:5,7 See also, Phil. 1:1, James 5:14
Deacons, diakonoi: service or ministry RCA: mercy, service, and outreachPhil. 1:1, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deaconsI Tim. 3:8-10,12, Deacons likewise must be dignified deacons if they prove themselves blameless. . . . (See also Acts 6:1-6)Church Government: Deacons
Forms of Church GovernmentEpiscopalFrom Greek episkopos OverseerLutheran, Methodist, CatholicCongregationalOne person, one voteBaptist, Congregational, United Church of Christ
Forms of Church GovernmentPresbyterianFrom Greek presbyteros, elderA type of representative democracyBUT elders, deacons and pastors always accountable to Jesus Christ first and foremost.RCA, CRC, PC(USA), PCABelieve this to be the most biblical
Characteristics of Reformed PolityScriptural: derived from the BibleChurch is the Body of ChristEphesians 1.23; 1 Cor. 12.12All authority belongs to ChristEphesians 1.22; Colossians 1.18Corporate: in regards to decision making Consistory, Classis, SynodReformed and reformingNo HierarchyParity among pastors, elders & deacons
Roles & ResponsibilitiesConsistoryCombines functions of elders, deacons and pastorsWhole body acts as representative of the congregationPastorsOrdained according to the Word of GodEqual in authorityStewards of the mysteries of God
Reflection: SacramentsWhat have been your experiences with baptism and the Lords Supper?What is it that you wonder about?Would changes would you make if you could?
Sacraments: DefinedSacramentum is Latin translation Greek musthrion, mysterion, which we transliterate as mystery, a mystery, unknown until revealed.Augustine defined sacrament:An outward sign of an inward (or invisible) grace. Or, a sacrament is a visible word. Donald Bloesch defines sacraments asthe visible Word or the visible form of the Word. Yet . . . there can be no sacrament apart from the proclaimed and read word of Scripture. The sacrament is a supplement to the Word but not a substitute for it. Evangelical Theology, 2:89.
Sacraments: ReformedSacraments were directly instituted by God to represent Christ and his benefitsBaptism:, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matt. 28:19Lords Supper, For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, I Cor. 11:23
Sacraments: The Lords SupperThe sacrament is explained in terms of communion with Christ in the past, present, and future.It is often noted that the Lords Supper gathers together the three tenses of our human existencepast, present and future.Introducing the Reformed Faith, D. McKim
Lords SupperRemembrance (past)Jesus is sent by God; fully obedientJn 3.16-17;Phlp 2.1-11; 2 Cor 5.19Communion (present)Christ is with us in bread & cupJohn 6.35; 15.5Hope (future)Jesus will returnto earthIsaiah 25.6; Revelation 21.1-5
Lords SupperCalvin taught the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper He saw in it a seal and pledge of what God does for believers rather than a pledge of their consecration to God. The virtues and effects of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross are present and actually conveyed to believers by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Berkhof, Summary)
BaptismChrist instituted baptism after the resurrection, Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:16. He charged His disciples to baptize those who were made disciples "into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," On Pentecost those that received the word of Peter were baptized, Acts 2:41; cf. also Acts 8:37; 16:31-34.
Infant BaptismIn the OT, children shared in the blessings of the covenant, received the sign of circumcision, and were reckoned as part of the people of God 2 Chron. 20:13; Joel 2:16 In the New Testament baptism is substituted for circumcision as the sign and seal of entrance into the covenant, Acts 2:39; Col. 2:11-12. The "new covenant" is represented in Scripture as more gracious than the old, Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:11, and therefore could hardly exclude children. (Berkhof, Summary)
Sacraments: Roman CatholicExpands the two sacraments of Scripture into a total of seven (7) sacramentsBaptismEucharistConfirmationPenanceMatrimonyHoly OrdersAnointing of the Sick (formerly, Extreme Unction) Denzinger, Enchirdion Symbolorum, 1601.
Reflection: WorshipWhat is a really good worship experience for you?How have church worship services changed in your lifetime? What changes have you enjoyed? What changes have been difficult?
WorshipThe obligation of God's creation to give to God all honor, praise, adoration, and glory due God as the holy and divine creator. Worship is to be given to God only (Exodus 20:3; Matt. 4:10). Jesus, being God in flesh (John 1:1,14 ; Col. 2:9), is worshipped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6). adapted from