A difficulty we have in understanding church identity is that denominations refer to themselves as churches. Even the Roman Catholic Church, from the orthodox and protestant points of view, is just another denomination. Denominations are essentially organisations of like-minded local churches that provide such things as corporate structure, cohesiveness, and pooled resources for the member churches. They are similar to parachurch organisations. Denominational organisations are not “the church” but organisations serving part of “the church”.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.5icm.org.au/blogs/2011/06/19/the-church-as-denomination/
Sometimes pastors say that they will not associate with another church because they are “preaching another gospel”. This is a reference to Paul’s warning to avoid any gospel other than the one that he preached (Rom 16:25; 2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6, 9; 2 Tim 2:8). It should be noticed that in these passages Paul is urging Christians to live in unity with one another (Rom 16:17; 2 Cor 10:12; Gal 2:14; 2 Tim 4:7). Paul’s gospel was that Jesus’ sacarifice had reconciled not just humanity to God, but Jews and Gentiles. The Gospel is that God reconciles humanity with himself and heals person to person relationships. Refusing to fellowship with Christians of other churches on the basis that their church is “preaching another gospel” is a result of the pride that we no longer need to be enslaved to. We fear that people will think that by our associating with other churches we accept that church’s teaching as true. Since when did any church have a corner on truth? Anyone looking on sees a divided church which undermines the gospel.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.5icm.org.au/blogs/2011/06/19/another-gospel/
Churches cooperating in mission is a good thing, it is a promising start on the road to church unity, but it should not be thought of as a sufficient goal in itself. Tolerance between churches is not what Jesus had in mind for his universal church. It is not sufficient to say that your church services are open to all. Full church unity is needed if the church is to present an undivided witness to the world. The church is diverse, and that is a good thing. The Lord loves diversity, look at his creation. The same Holy Spirit lives in all Christians. We should not allow our diversity to disrupt our fellowship in the Spirit.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.5icm.org.au/blogs/2011/06/19/cooperation/
Some think of the church unity movement as a search for a lowest common denominator doctrinal statement as if there is some minimum set of beliefs that makes one a Christian. This is the approach of compromise. The ecumenical movement is not about compromise, but truth. We must each honestly admit that we, and the denominations to which we belong, do not have such a complete knowledge of truth that we cannot learn from others.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.5icm.org.au/blogs/2011/06/19/the-lowest-common-denominator/
This category of posts is added in anticipation of revival. It is also a place to report what God is doing to win the hearts of his people who live in the Illawarra area. Feel free to add a comment reporting good news stories from your corner fo the Illawarra here.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.5icm.org.au/blogs/2011/06/19/anticipating-revival/