Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mark Driscoll on the Church

Ran into this article on the Mars Hill blog. Mark Driscoll talks about the visible and invisible church. is concept of the invisible church seems pretty close. The visible church is quite strange. Mostly because it is not visible at all.

The visible church is the church as we imperfectly see it. The various congregations of the universal church that regularly meet together in a particular place at a set time for things such as teaching, fellowship, and worship are commonly called the “local church” or the “visible church.”
So who is included in this. Mormon's? New age groups? Muslims? There must be some standard. He gets to that later.

As a result, the Reformers defined the church in terms of the presence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most famous Protestant definition of the church is from John Calvin, who said, “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists.”
OK, so how do I know where the word of God is purely preached? Can I just take their word for it? Calvin would not. He would exclude Catholics for sure and likely a bunch of other groups. Driscoll seems to want to make it much broader. But he is pretty fuzzy. Who is the judge of these preachers? If we are talking about a visible church then we cannot base it on an invisible judgment by God on these preachers. There must be a visible judge or the church is really not visible at all.

He does make clear we are to be active in the church.

The Bible is clear that every Christian is a part of the larger church body and is expected to participate in the life of a local church with the gift(s) God has given him or her.
But that just begs the question, which local church? Does it matter? How should I pick? He quotes 1 John who takes it as a given that believers will fellowship together and those that leave the fellowship have left the faith. But John never talks about multiple local fellowships. That is completely foreign to scripture.

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