Last week, I wrote a post claiming that the main problem with the church isn’t that we’re not socially responsible enough, too hypocritical, or irrelevant. I proposed the main problem with the church is that we don’t know who we are.
So who are we?
That’s the logical question (raised by Allison in the comments), so here’s part 1 of my 2 part opinion. For this part, I’ll refer you to Mark Driscoll’s definition from his new release Vintage Church. It’s succinct, understandable, and good, along with the reasons why, in his mind, the need is so imperative for a firm definition:
In chapter 2 of Vintage Church we answer the question, “What Is the Christian Church?” We felt this important was incredibly important as there has not been a serious consideration of the issue since the days of the Protestant Reformation. Furthermore, in our age of churches of all kinds including multi-site churches with video preachers, and even online virtual churches it is imperative that church leaders, as well as the average Christian who wants to be part of a church, to have a biblical understanding of what is and what is not a church.
Without a definition of what a church is or does, I’m unsure how we can even deem one successful. Therefore, we will establish a definition of the local church:
The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the great commandment and the great commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy.