Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Excerpts from CCEF Paper #3: Counseling in the Local Church

It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian

While the divine Persons are by nature a communion, human persons require covenantal commitment in order to effect the kind of perichoretic interdependence necessary for transformation. (Page 75)

I’ve recently changed my definition of “church.” My newest formulation (attempting to be both concise and meaningful) is “The church is Jesus’ worshiping community of gospel-centered disciplemakers.”

The newest part of my new definition, strangely enough, is that the church is, at heart, a community. I knew that, but I didn’t know that. In recent years, I’ve become more and more attuned to the communal reality of the church. Bolsinger's book only reinforced this. He argues, from the nature of the Trinity, that Christ-followers must be in community to be transformed into image-restored disciples. There is no Plan B for genuine transformation than the church.

This kind of thinking has practical implications for our church’s ministry:

∙ We’ll have to say clearly that there are “No Lone Ranger Christians.” I’ve made that statement from the pulpit before, but I’ve probably communicated in implicit ways that participation within the Body is optional.

∙ We’ll have to raise the value on membership. Bolsinger calls it “covenantal commitment.” Membership must mean more than a name put on a list. It has to signal dedication to one another so that we grow together in Christ. This could be painful at times, but will be for our common good.

∙ We’ll need to worship, read the Bible, and celebrate the ordinances together. Bolsinger has several suggestions for these aspects of church more meaningful as a community.

∙ We’ll desire for our love for each other to give witness to the reality of Christ (John 13:35).