‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
From prison to ReTrain: Russell’s story
Mon May 20, 2013
9 types of leaders in Scripture
Mon May 20, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Vintage Church: Free Chapter
Various Christian traditions are prone to define the church—or their church—in an unhealthy and reductionistic manner, focusing on one primary metaphor at the expense of the full breadth of New Testament teaching. As a result, they become imbalanced in some way and therefore unhealthy. For example, the corporate church is referred to as the bride of Christ. The result of overemphasizing this metaphor is the effeminate nature of much of evangelical preaching and singing.
The definition of what constitutes a Christian church is vitally important, especially in our day when cultists and oddball, self-appointed spiritual gurus keep starting various kinds of pseudo-churches. The church is also a hot issue among younger pastors today. In previous generations, singles’ ministry, student ministry, and parachurch ministry were the hot options for entrepreneurial young leaders. But today the hot ministry is church planting in every form. This includes churches within churches seeking to reach people outside the existing church, house churches, multi-campus churches, and traditional church planting. This phenomenon is spreading across all denominational and theological traditions, often with no clear understanding of exactly what a church is or does.
Furthermore, the effort to cultivate the most innovative and effective postmodern church has led to a market of books that nearly always start with some word followed by “church,” such as Liquid Church, Emerging Church, Organic Church, Missional Church, Multi-Site Church, Externally Focused Church, House Church, Future Church, Ancient-Future Church, Blogging Church, and Prevailing Church. What is curious about most of the books on the church is that very rarely do any of them actually define what the church is, or even clarify what the church does. Instead, most of the books simply share best practices gleaned from “successful” churches. This is curious because without a definition of what a church is or does, I’m unsure how we can even deem one successful.
-- From Vintage Church Chapter 2, "What is a Christian Church?"