April 26, 2013

Who Is "Church"? Pt. 2 In Part 1 of this blog series, we said that in order to answer the question of "who the Church is", we needed to first ask who Jesus is, and then ask what His salvation is. I walked through two examples of how we tend to answer the series of questions-- Who is Jesus? What is Salvation? Who is Church? What is Mission?-- and then offered an alternate set of answers from what I observe in the Book of Acts. All this is foundational. But it is a paradigm shift. Most of us are not used to seeing Church as anything but individuals united by a common purpose-- reaching the lost (fill in the word of choice: evangelism, discipleship, mission). BUT... Church is not a collective of individuals but a community-- one family, one body, made of diverse parts who are not members together of an organization but who are members of one another. Church is united not by a common purpose but by a common identity: we have been marked as the people of God, drawn into the life and fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are, as my pastor is fond of saying, sons and daughters, not slaves and orphans, or even God's task force or missional operatives. The New Testament's favorite image for the Church is a household: a family. -------------------- So, what does all this mean for our gatherings, our worship services? Who is Church for? In one sense, the Church is in the world for the world. We are blessed, broken and given for the life of the world, because we are in Jesus and He was blessed, broken and given for the world. More than that, we are in the world as a sign in the world: we are, as I mentioned...
N. T. Wright on the Gospel, the Gospels and Paul Would you like to hear N. T. Wright answer a few questions on the Gospel, summing up in person the rich theological research he's devoted his life to developing? Whether you've read Wright or not, this 13-minute video interview is a great summary of Wright's work on seeing the Gospel in the Gospels and in Paul as a unified whole, the culmination of the salvation narrative that begins in the Old Testament. Krish Kandiah (of the UK's "Evangelical Alliance") interviews NT Wright and asks the following questions: Why do we need to ask the question: ‘What is the gospel?’ What is the gospel according to the gospels? If you only had a couple of minutes, how would you communicate the gospel with someone? Do we need to talk about repentance when we present the gospel? Why do you emphasise the importance of talking about Jesus’ life, as well as his death, when presenting the gospel? Is the gospel of Paul different to the gospel of Jesus? What would your advice be to a young evangelist? The Evangelical Alliance provides the following questions for small groups and for ministry leaders. These are worth considering for reflection: For Small Groups: 1) Before you watch the video, ask: “If you only had a couple of minutes, how would you communicate the gospel with someone? Once you’ve watched the video, compare and contrast your ideas with what NT Wright suggested. 2) Think about the times you’ve heard the gospel presented recently, how was the idea of repentance communicated (if it was)? How can we ensure that our understanding of repentance includes being part of something new as well as leaving behind something old? 3) NT Wright suggests that many people see Paul as presenting the actual gospel, with the four gospels providing the back...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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