Last newsletter we left off with the question, how do our contextual ways of being together as family manifest? Or, how do we move from our theological claim about what the church is (the family of God) to a lived experience? In order to pose the question in one more way, I’ll share a story.
The New Testament employs a variety of metaphors to represent the church’s essence. One of the most significant is certainly family. Family is an expression of the real relational dynamic that exists among followers of Jesus. We articulated our vision over five years ago: God’s family celebrating and serving in Arequipa.
When we talk about ecclesiology (our understanding of the church), there are two levels to consider. The first is the abstract, presumably universal level at which we think about what the church is. The second is the practical level at which which we think about how a local church must embody that essence. One problem that has affected many churches is the assumption that the second level, that of application, is just as universal as the first. This belief leads some to the conclusion that the forms, styles, practices, and traditions of the church universal should be pretty much uniform in the church local. The expectation that the New Testament will provide those forms bolsters the assumption.