On Local Churches and the Sovereignty of God

No other institution or human organization on the earth today can do what the church does

“Jesus has already outlined his plan for how he will manifest his glory in the world today. He said, “I will build my church” (Matt 16:18). Jesus Christ died to save his people from their sins, and as the Spirit applies his work in the world, a new creation body is growing up into Christ. That church is manifested in local assemblies around the world, and it is these on-the-ground communities which provide the life context for making disciples.”

 

We affirm the primacy of the local church in the conservation and nourishment of historic, biblical Christianity as godly elders patiently teach God’s Word and model right belief, living, and loving (1 Tim 3:15, 4:16). We further affirm that such efforts are fully dependent upon the sovereign will of God, which will ultimately be accomplished (Dan 4:34­35).

We deny that the transmission of the Christian faith will occur primarily by individuals alone, in families disconnected from local churches, or through parachurch ministries. We further deny that the preservation of Christianity is ultimately dependent upon the meager efforts of finite people and especially any pragmatic methodology or programs.

________

In this declaration, we have outlined a call to know the Lord in the full dimensions of his truth, beauty, and goodness. But where will the world full of error, ugliness, and evil see such glory made known?

Jesus has already outlined his plan for how he will manifest his glory in the world today. He said, “I will build my church” (Matt 16:18). Jesus Christ died to save his people from their sins, and as the Spirit applies his work in the world, a new creation body is growing up into Christ. That church is manifested in local assemblies around the world, and it is these on-the-ground communities which provide the life context for making disciples.

Jesus has equipped these churches with precisely what is needed to nourish and conserve historic, biblical Christianity. Pastors and teachers preach and teach the Word, equipping the members of the body to build one another up to maturity. To each member is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. It is in these actual, on-the-ground communities where God’s people can learn by experience what is excellent. Of course, if these assemblies pass on banal, trite, slipshod Christianity, the damage is very great. No parachurch ministry, this one included, can make up the difference.

Read More