Feb 24, 2013

ECCLESIOLOGY: DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH

I believe the church is all of those people who have been bought by Christ and therefore belong to the Lord. The church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic but it will visibly be a mixed body until the Lord returns. The church exists to: worship God (Col 3:16), nurture believers (Col 1:28), and minister to the world through gospel proclamation (Matt 28:19) and acts of mercy (Lk 6:35-36). Churches should strive for more purity (Eph 5:26-27) by being in line with God’s word on matters of doctrine and conduct. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, wants believers to be in unity (Jn 10:16; 17:21, 23). Christians are to separate from egregious heretics (2 Jn 10; 2 Cor 6:14, 17).

        I believe God gives his church the authority to preach the gospel and carry out proper church discipline (Matt 16:16-19). Part of the church’s spiritual power is that in its proclamation of the gospel, the Holy Spirit will work with the message sent to break open rebellious hearts and lead them to repentance (Rom 10:17). The local church has both the authority and responsibility to enact church discipline for members in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20. Church discipline may include excommunication (1 Cor 5:4-5, 12; 2 Thess 3:6). Church discipline has the purposes of limiting harm from sin, healing, restoring, and protecting the purity of the church.

        I believe the church has been given power battle against the demonic realm and be victorious (Acts 13:10-11; 16:18; 2 Cor 10:3-4; Eph 6:10-18). The church is not to take up the sword in its effort to spread the gospel (Jn 18:36; 2 Cor 10:4). God has ordained that the government has the power of the sword (Rom 13:1-7) and can enforce legislation (Matt 22:21; Lk 12:13-14). Christians are not obligated to obey civil laws which would force them to disobey God (Acts 5:27-29).

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