Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
Real cowboys from the American frontier, both the good guys and the bad guys, had no interest in the big, bulky Stetsons that everyone associates with them. Contrary to our more modern cowboys, the most popular headgear among 19th century gunslingers was the bowler, sometimes called a derby.
Many people have an idea in their minds of what the church looks like, but it just might be the case that the image doesn’t match scriptural teaching.
The “church” in the Bible is a singular, unified group of God’s people spread out across the globe in the form of multiple likeminded congregations. Though the people are God’s— they’re still people. People have problems. The difference between His family and the world, though, is that there’s a solution and a hope for His own.
When New Testament Christians claim that there’s one church they don’t mean there’s only one group of people who have all the answers and can do no wrong. They simply acknowledge the Biblical truth that God made plans for only one church and that plan had been in motion before the creation of the world (Eph. 3.10-11).
The New Testament is largely made up of letters that were written to correct and admonish our natural human tendencies. When these things are left unchecked and unbridled they produce more pain and destruction, which can clearly be seen all around us. For most, the product of sin is self-evident but the power of the Savior isn’t— and that’s where the church comes in. The main function of the church is to seek, save, and keep the saved saved. This is done by walking, speaking, and acting like Jesus. The form and function of His family is simple because God’s goal is to save as many as possible (Jn. 3.16-17). The New Testament church is meant to be the hands, feet, and mouth of God. The church is to work, walk, and speak only the things He would and that’s only possible if a group of people are living by His instruction. Since God only wrote one book, there’s only one manual. Since following the instructions will produce one church family then there’s only one church. In the same way you can assembly an entertainment system wrong by incorrectly following the plans, you can also assemble the church wrong. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way and one needs only to reference His instructions to be certain.