Ecclesiology comes from the Greek ἐκκλησία (ekklesia), which meant a gathering or a meeting.
What is Church?
House and Home - We think these words means the same thing. But they are technically different. What is the difference?
Houses are made with bricks and beam
Home is made of love and dreams
Understanding the way we use these words somewhat interchangeably may help us understand the two ways we use the word church. Of course we will observe that one way (the way we use home) is more biblical.
Church as Vessel
The Bible doesnt describe the reality and experience of church in this way. In the Bible, church is more like a home in that it refers to the people that comprise the church through out time and space. So that you cannot have one with the other.
This is why the teaching on unity is so evident. One cannot simply separate from the church and go to the church of ones choice. There is an essential unity and connection to church. God has made us one.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spiritjust as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Mixture and Compound Analogy: It should be noted that compounds don't necessarily retain the properties of their constituent elements. Water, for example, has very few of the properties of either hydrogen or oxygen.
The Church is not Chex Mix
Brass is a mixture of the elements of copper and zinc.
Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin.
Water is a compound of the elements hydrogen and oxygen.
Cinnabar is a compound that contains mercury and sulfur.
What is the difference between mixtures of elements and compounds formed when elements combine chemically?
Images in Scripture that Describe the Church
Children of God
Temple of God
In all of these texts and metaphors, we notice that identity calls for a certain type of behavior. So, being in church is not as important as being church.
Church is not so much the way to salvation as it is the result of salvation. Gods saving action thru Jesus Christ, his desire to overcome sin and to be present thru the Holy Spirit results in the church. Church is the outgrowth and evidence of Gods mission
But to ask a question Can I be saved apart from the church? misunderstands the whole concept of church. The saved are church. and the church is simply the saved.
Likewise, when church membership is viewed as the way to be saved, then this too is a misunderstanding of the concept of church. God saves. Jesus saves. Those who comes to Christ in confession and humble penitence and submerge their life into Christs life are saved. They are added to the church (by God).
We dont go to church we are the church.
Church is a foretaste of the coming rule of God. A sign of the way it is going to be. Church is an eschatological realization of what is to come. Missional Church.
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