Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What Foundations?

That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. You, too, are being built in him along with the others into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 ISV)

In my previous post I made it clear that I believe God is exercising His prerogative as Lord of the Church by seeking to wake us up. There is a truth that must be kept in mind as we seek what He is saying to us: Every thought, understanding, conclusion, etc., must, with Berean like (Acts 17:11) tenacity, hold to the Scriptures as God’s infallible word to us, and as such our only rule for faith and practice.

If we fail in this, we leave ourselves open to varieties of questionable doctrine, (which Paul knew so well, Eph.4 :14 ), or the philosophies of men (Colossians 2:8) who misuse the Scriptures to support positions which come from their own minds, or others, which like ours still carry the taint of our Adamic nature, and who are prone to follow what is convenient, financially profitable, self-indulgent, comfortable, etc.

We can be confident that this was the case with the Church at Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 13-15 ), and we can be confident that the very same has happened when we consider ourselves to be followers of men whose names adorn particular doctrinal positions, Calithumpian or Armbandian, and many others until the present time .

More recent history repeated this in the Jesus People, and later in the charismatic/Pentecostal movements. God’s people were divided by unthinking zeal.

The newer phenomena are creating the very same divides as we find so-called “Emergents” and “Emergings” using a very broad brush to paint those who belong to the I.C. (institutional church). The so-called I.C. are using the very same broad brush to paint the “E’s”. Amazingly, both claim the high ground of wanting to, in the first case, protect “the Church” from the death throes of the “I.C.ers”, and the other wants to protect themselves from the self indulgent excesses of the “E’s” . To complicate the matter even further, anyone who calls for a re-examination of the compromised position the I.C. finds itself in is thrown into the “E” basket.

Are either really interested, and committed, to the Scriptures as God’s word to mankind, and thence to what God says His Church is, and the foundations on which it is to be built, and the task for which He founded it ?

It seems, from most of what we read, that there is far more interest on both sides of the debate, to protect their own investment, their own philosophies, and at any cost!

One question which needs answering by both: Is the “church” to which either is committed the one which Paul speaks about in 1 Timothy 3:15, when he says , “……. I'm writing this to you in case I am delayed so that you may know how one is to behave in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. ”, or a perversion of it ?

I thank God for the Great Reformation. I thank God for the spiritual giants, of the day, whom God used to restore to the Church, the great doctrines of grace to which I’m committed. Thank God for Huss , Luther, Calvin, Wesley , Whitfield, and the many others who God used so mightily, especially in the recovery of the Biblical doctrines of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, but where are the great men of God of today?

Let’s not make the mistakes the Reformers made in their ecclesiology and the bearing it had on their ignorant treatment of Anabaptist brethren, whose Saviour was the same, whose understanding of the foundations of the Church was the same.


Brandon said...

This is another great post and a check that I continually have in my spirit. My desire is that I never allow myself to "choose" a side in the I.C. vs. E debate...But rather seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Blessings to you...

Mary said...


I appreciate this post. I think we spend so much energy either trying to protect or defend our various positions with, as you said, unthinking zeal. That just distracts us and divides the Church.


Alan Knox said...


Anytime we do something to separate ourselves from other believers, we are being divisive - which is sin. If Paul was right in 1 Cor. 12 (and I tend to think he was), then we all need one another. That means that those in an "E" church need those that are in an IC... those in a simple church need those in an organized church... those in a baptistic church need those in a presbyterian church. We are all in the church. When we stop pushing each other away and truly start living life with one another, we may find that God can actually use other in our lives - even those who we think have things wrong. It is not about right and wrong... it is about living life in Christ.


Aussie John said...

Thank you all for your comments.

I can only add an hearty "AMEN!" to what you said, Alan.

Post a Comment