Skip to main content

"The Christian life must be lived through the local church"

Jonathan Leeman writes provocatively on Individualism and Community. Leeman says that todays problem isn't individualism but rejection of authority, repentance of which means real belonging to the church:

"The Christian life must be lived through the local church because that's what Christ has made us-members of his body. To claim that I belong to the church without belonging to a church is equivalent to claiming that I have been granted Christ's righteousness without seeking to put on that righteousness in ethical living. The imperative necessarily follows the indicative. We're called to submit to the authority and discipline of a local church because we have submitted to the authority and discipline of Christ. Indeed, to say that Christians should belong to a local church merely because it's advantageous to living the Christian life misses the point that the church body is now part and parcel of a Christian's very identity. An adopted son attends the family dinner table with his new brothers and sisters not just because it's good for him, but because that's what he is-a member of the family... Submitting to a local church on earth, in the language of Christian ethics, is a becoming of what we are in heaven."

This is helpful to remember that we need to have both our out-of-relationshipness dealt with, and the rebellion that brought about that broken relationship dealt with. The gospel does both! This is the fruit of the mercy of God to people! This is the grace of God at work to gather a people in Christ from all nations.

Leeman: "To claim that I belong to the church without belonging to a church is equivalent to claiming that I have been granted Christ's righteousness without seeking to put on that righteousness in ethical living" - absolutely!
  • That's why for any student arriving at University their first priority is to quickly join a local church when they're at University. Belonging works out in the relationships that the gospel creates between the most different of peoples. The grace shines!
  • Likewise - if Christian Union is about partnership of students from local churches in mission that'll not just happen by default but be manifest through the corporate praying, training, and witness of students together. Then grace shines!
More articles on the church at Modern Reformation

Comments

  1. That's an interesting and thought-provoking article. I started writing a response here in the comments, but it got rather long, so I posted it on my blog instead.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great little article. It put into words some thoughts I have been thinking recently but been unable to make come together in my head.

    Thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…