We Believe In: The Church -- By: Arthur L. Farstad
JOTGES 5:1 (Spring 92) p. 3
We Believe In:
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
We of the Grace Evangelical Society—the national board, the boards of the Journal and of the GES Newsletter, as well as members in general—believe in the Church.
GES is what is popularly known as a “parachurch” organization, that is, we parallel the Church in interest and activity and work alongside her, trying to build her up.1 Some parachurch societies seem to be almost “contrachurch” in their attitude, rather than loving and striving to help her to be what the NT says she is meant to be. Perhaps, if the Church was united, sound in doctrine on all fronts, and fervently active to promote both evangelism and local church life, there might be no need for parachurch organizations. But the truth is, Christianity today is not in very good shape. Even evangelicalism, the wing of professing Christendom that is supposed to be clear on the Gospel, contains large forces teaching, writing, and preaching “a different gospel which is not another” (Gal 1:6–7 NKJV, emphasis supplied).2
II. The Importance of the Church
Some Christians who are active in evangelism do not seem to feel that the Church is important.3 This Was not the Apostle Paul’s approach. People who are keen on Eph 2:8–9 should also consider the twofold
JOTGES 5:1 (Spring 92) p. 4
thrust of Eph 3:8–9. Here we clearly see the twofold thrust of the Apostle Paul’s ministry:
1. “To preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (the Gospel).
2. “To make all see what is the fellowship [“stewardship” in most manuscripts] of the mystery.” (The “mystery” in this context is the truth of the Christian Church in its unique role in God’s current dealings with humanity.)
Our English word church, unfortunately, is neither a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, nor a modified transliteration.4 If it were the former, we would probably use assembly, congregation,5 or meeting. If the latter, ecclesia or ekklesia, both of which occasionally do appear, would have...
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