How are we defined as Christians?

The above question may seem odd, even pretentious, however, it is I think pertinent in today’s secularized western society where the church can so easily adopt the values of the world around it. This reflection was prompted by a bolg on “part-time” church attendance (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2013/08/06/are-you-a-part-time-churchgoer-you-may-be-surprised/). At the heart of the problem is our conception of church, and tied into that the role of the pastor/preacher/ minister. Too often we conceive of ourselves as saved individuals, rather than a saved community, yet throughout the New Testament the Acts, and letters describe not a bunch of individuals who happen to get along, but a church, a community, a body, of which Christ is described as the head, the chief cornerstone, the high priest (Acts 2:44f., 1┬áCor. 3:16; 12:1-31, 1 Thess.1:1, Hebrews 1, etc). Participation isn’t optional in part because existence outside the Church is impossible. It is therefore imperative that the body is well led and taught. Continue reading