reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Friday, November 07, 2008

What I mean and do not mean

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
A phrase I hear bandied about a bit these days is the phrase "the priority of the local church." I am happy to sign up to this, and am very clear that the Bible teaches it but I want to be clear what I think it means:

What I mean: The local church family is the vehicle by which God is demonstrating his wisdom to the world, the primary place for most Christians to receive teaching and care and God's major strategy for reaching the world with the Gospel. As such, any ministry that operates as a conglomeration of people from different local churches should have, as its ultimate aim, the building up of the local church, and should not even risk taking away from people's commitment to their local church family. The attitude of any ministry, denominational organisation or training institution should be "what can we do to serve local churches?" rather than "what can local churches do to serve us?"

What I do not mean: That any sort of Christian teaching, training, or Christian service has to take place with the explicit permission and "under the authority of" a local church. I do not need to ask for a local church's permission to preach the Gospel, serve as a Christian, encourage others in a particular place. It may of course be polite to do so, and it often will involve talking to local churches so I can live out the priority of the local church as I do understand it. But the local church's priority does not make it into the regulator of what is acceptable ministry somewhere, as, after all, I am an evangelical who believes in the authority of Scripture, rather than believing in the authority of the church.

Now we have that cleared up - in other news:
- we are off to Lancaster for a week to help at the University of Cumbria CU mission. It's exciting, with lunch bars every day on "What would Jesus say to..." different people, and evening events with talks on Mark. Jesus has come to the sick not the healthy - pray for his cleansing work this week, opening blind eyes, calling people to follow him and be clean.
- then we are both off to the Scottish borders for Newcastle Uni houseparty. Zephaniah - loving some time with my favourite book. Do please pray that it would be a brilliant time of firing us all up for mission as we get a small glimpse of God's greatness.

Busy week - but exciting times.

4 Comments:

Blogger dave bish said...

Multitudinous Hurrahs!

4:09 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

seconded!

9:18 AM  
Blogger ernie said...

tempted to drop an amen into the mix! :)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Matt Finn said...

I'm a bit confused, again, can anyone help me out?

Hope University of Cumbria and Newcastle go really well!

6:07 AM  

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