Contend Earnestly: How Would You Define the Term "Church"?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

How Would You Define the Term "Church"?

For the past year, I have really been asking this question. And the question might be also stated as "Who is the church?" not "What is the church?" Yesterday, I grabbed lunch with one of my pastors at Harambee and we were discussing this very topic. The answer to this question, actually has very large implications. I just wanted to throw out the question to anyone out there, Christian or not.

When you hear the term "church", how would you define it?

7 comments:

Willis said...

A group of sinners that by grace God declares to be saints.

Arthur Sido said...

All of God's elect, past, present and future redeemed by grace.

Anonymous said...

called out of "rome" "Egypt""babylon" and even...sinai.

SnatchedFromTheFire said...

It has both a universal and a local connotation clearly. Driscoll did a good, extensive covering of this very topic.

http://www.theresurgence.com/driscoll_what_is_the_church

Jake said...

God's Covenant community of called out ones united around the preaching of the Gospel of grace, church membership, and the sacraments. (OK, really all I did is steal the Reformers answer to the question, but it's a good answer.)

Chris Cole said...

The comments reflect the failure in your post to distinguish between the "invisible church" (the definition given by Arthur) and the "visible church" (the definition given by Jake). That is, the church from God's perspective or from ours. In the case of the visible church, I cannot improve on the answer in the Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 62: "The visible church is a society made of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children." The wisdom of that answer is that it avoids the effort to judge a man's heart, which the Spirit alone can do.

Arthur Sido said...

Chris,

The "visible" church is nothing more than the manifestation of the Church. There is no distinction between the visible and invisible in Scripture. That distinction is entirely an invention of man.

BTW, Jake's definition is of institutional religion, not of the church.

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