Editor’s Introduction -- By: John H. Armstrong
RAR 3:4 (Fall 1994) p. 9
There is a growing awareness in the West among the true people of God that the church in our day needs a new and thorough reformation. This hunger crosses man-made denominational lines. Further, evidence exists that a growing number of people, in almost every region of the globe, are praying earnestly for heaven-sent showers of revival. For the appearance in our time of these concerns any servant of God should rejoice.
My friends know me as one who deeply loves the church. I gave my life to Christ, by His grace, as a young boy. Shortly thereafter I gave my life to the visible community of the church. When God called me, internally, to preach the gospel, He later called me, externally, to submit that call to the visible church. There had to be an examination and a confirmation of my call if it was of God.
In my college days in the 1960s I met a group of young believers who were fresh. Excited. Revived! They wanted to throw overboard the local churches of the community (“dead, just dead,” they said of them) and start over. “Lets have a simple, pure, faithful, New Testament fellowship!” (By the way, these same “reformers” later ended up moving into one of the most traditional of all traditions, the Greek Orthodox Church.) Radical reformers, they called themselves! My first communion in this “house church” fellowship was so moving, and so simple. Could this be the beginning of a new move of God for our generation? I wondered, and prayed.
As I studied and sought to equip both my mind and heart for the service of Christ and His church I kept bumping up against this one basic truth—Christ loves the church! If I love Christ, then I must also love His church, even if it is a church that needs reformation and revival desperately. Nothing has changed this basic love and the direction of my life since.
But what is the church? And what should be our attitude toward it in these times when she appears so insignificant
RAR 3:4 (Fall 1994) p. 10
to modern life?
The word church came into the English language from Anglo-Saxon and meant, originally, “the Lord’s.” The building where the Lord’s people met thus became “the Lord’s house,” and its meaning has expanded in our language.
I do not think that we must give up the use of this word to describe buildings, institutions and other gatherings, but we surely must reclaim the proper biblical sense of the word if we would work for reformation in the life of the church. We need, once again, to understand that the church is first and foremost “the Lord’s people.”
Question 54 of the Heidelber...
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