These are my notes from the final session of Dwell London. Ed Stetzer was the speaker.
He wanted us to focus on Why not how. Tools not rules. We are in a time of transition. Many churches are frustrated. Looking for new ways, new models. We need to think biblically and culturally about how do church.
Ecclesiology is the study of the church. If our ecclesiology is driven by mission, this should lead to contextually appropriate churches. Culture does matter. We all live in culture. Evey church Is relevant to a culture. The question is does that culture still exist?
So few books on the biblical doctrine of the church. Growing interest. The church is not the center of Gods plan, Jesus is but it is central to gods plan.
Sometimes the church as we see it is not the church as God defines it. When people reject the church they soon reject the gospel. Church has always had seasons when people are dissatisfied with it. Eg Augustine said “the Church is a whore but she is still my mother.” Mustn’t shape the church to completely fit the culture. Nor must we pretend that we can build a church that is not effected by culture.
Then Scripture shapes our understanding of the church. It’s a bride. It’s the body of Christ. It’s God’s agenda and tool for the world. God is a sender by nature so then church is missional as a result. Church needs to know who she is and where she is.
Church is Biblically faithful, culturally relevant, counter culture, and a community of the kingdom.
There are some essential issues. See Romans 14. Biblical marks of the a church that can found in all cultures at all times. Desire of many Christians is two make one thing that we like must be present at all times af places.Biblical marks.
1. Scriptural authority
2. Biblical leadership
3. Preaching and teaching.
4. Ordinances. Supper and baptism.
5. Covenant community.
Then thee will be convictions about how they are applied. These will cause us to be in different churches than our brothers and sisters. Some people say everything is essential.
Good theology leads to missiology. The how of ministry us in some ways determined by the who when and were of culture. We must start where people are and bring them to the bloody cross and the empty tomb.
Christiology= study of Christ Who is Jesus and what has he sent us to do. What is a NT church going go look like in our culture?
Missiology. What strategies will we use to reach out?
We tend to go to what we inherited rather than who we are sent to. What is the nature pf the gospel and how is it best lived out where we are? Biblically faithful in the context we are living in. We must engage culture. But if we go to far er loose the gospel. If we don’t do that at all, the gospel will not impact people.
Many churches look different from the culture but the truth is they live the same. We are meant to look similar but live radically different. Representing Jesus as ambassadors in the world God has placed us in.