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Posts Tagged ‘church’

All this hubbub about the US Supreme Court’s recent decisions touching sodomite unions has people wondering if the United States is caput. Many are also wondering what place of the church of Jesus Christ has to speak to all of this political/judicial/moral carnage.

As a Christian (read: Bible-believer), I am opposed to homosexual activity. I don’t think that a man can “marry” another man. By his Word God defines marriage, and that necessarily precludes same-sex marriages. There is A LOT more to say than that, but at least that needs to be said.

Jefe, would you say that we have a plethora of sexual perversions?

Okay, so if the church of Jesus Christ follows the written Word of God, she will be opposed to homosexual perversions (as well as the PLETHORA of other sexual perversions). What shape should that opposition take?

Like everything else, there is a lot to say about this. In the remainder of this post, I want to highlight a very helpful distinction between the church as institution and the church as organism. The institution of the church is the form the church takes in her government and liturgical ministry. The church of Jesus Christ IS an institution: it has officers (elders and deacons), formal discipline (ending in excommunication), and a formal ministry (the liturgical preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments). However, the church is also rightly conceived of as an organism, a living being. The church is a body fit together with all sorts of people, each of whom are gifted and empowered by the Spirit to live out the commandments of God in their own lives, in communion with one another, and in this world.

The concept of the church as institution is roundly hated by many, including many Christians in our day. We read silliness like, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” The reality, of course, is that it is both of those and more. Regarding our point, the church as organism is dependent upon the church as institution. The regular function of the institutional church empowers and protects the functioning of the church as organism.

Alright, if that distinction makes sense, let’s move on to apply it to the present situation of homosexual “marriage.” How should the church as institution oppose sodomite unions? Should our elders, sessions, bishops, etc. tell us to vote for this or that candidate? Should our pastors stand in the pulpits and say, “Support proposition X” or “Oppose candidate Y”? I do not think so. That’s right. I do NOT think so. I think that the FORMAL ministry of God’s Word should be just that, a ministry of the God’s Word: Law and Gospel. The people who sit under that faithful ministry should go forth, as the organism of the church, and live according to that Word. Thus, the people of God could rightly band together in political/social groups to oppose this issue or support that one. The institution of the church, however, should not engage in that sort of political and social work directly. The institution of the church should continue heralding God’s Word in faithfulness, empowering the organism of the church to apply that Word faithfully in all areas of life.

This distinction, if kept, will allow Christians to live as Christians in EVERY age without making the institutional church the water carrier for any particular age’s political/social agenda. The distinction, if lost, will subject the institutional church to the political/social whims of every age and will rob the organism of the church of her very power house: the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

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Tim in SeminaryI graduated from college in 2000. At that time, I was deeply interested in knowing God better and, thus, getting to know the Bible much more deeply. In order to fulfill those interests, I hoped to go to seminary. I was not necessarily interested in pursuing ministry as a vocation (nor was I opposed to it), but I just wanted to know God better.

In lieu of seminary, I went to work for a couple of years of working in the trucking industry, after which I landed at Western Reformed Seminary in Tacoma, WA. Over the course of three years at that wonderful seminary, I grew immeasurably; it was a great time of spiritual growth for me. When I graduated, however, I was still was not sure that God was calling me into ministry. I ended up taking another job in the freight industry and worked for five more years.

During these five years I was not looking for full-time ministry. In fact, I was actively looking other directions. Even so, I was happily willing to help out in my local church in any way the elders wanted. (more…)

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Let me start off by saying that this video is offensive. My friend, Jeff at Scripture Zealot, brought it to my attention, but was unwilling to post it on his blog. I’m not unwilling. The reason the video is both (kind of) funny and offensive is that it profanes the holy; it takes what is to be precious and throws it in the mud. Now, that kind of thing can be highly entertaining, but it can also be downright blasphemous. In this case, rest assured that God will make it through unscathed. Pepsi Co.’s got nothing on God. God wins. Done deal. Okay, here’s the video.

But consider this: It is offensive that Pepsi besmirches the Eucharistic meal in an advertisement to drum up business and make some more money. It’s far more offensive, however, when Christ’s church (in the name of Christ, not profit) defames the Holy Supper. When and where does this happen? It happens in countless ways all over the place. From the changing of the elements, to the Supper as merely an individual devotional act done by oneself in the back of the church; from the Eucharist for the bride and groom at their wedding, to infrequent participation. But let me step back and look at this through the broader scope of the whole of divine worship. It’s an understatement to say that the contemporary church has taken great strides toward bastardizing the worship of God. We’ve made worship about people instead of God. We poll the population to see that they want in the services, and then do it. We rarely (if ever) have a thought to consult the BIBLE to see what God wants in worship! It is, after all, God who’s being worshiped, right? Maybe what he wants should be, like, important to us.

Here’s the wonderful part: Pepsi comes along in a commercial and mimics the abject buffoonery of the church, and then the church (no doubt) gets all sanctimonious, all high and holy. She’ll start defending the sanctity of worship and the Supper. This is very much like Christians getting all huffy when monuments of the 10 Commandments are taken down from public places. They see red when the public courthouse removes the Law of God, but don’t seem to notice that the Law of God was removed from their liturgy over 30 years ago. In a very real way, the world follows the church’s lead; Pepsi’s just following our example. They’re making a mockery of worship and the Supper because we have.

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