So I was scrolling through Len Hjalmarson’s blog today and this jumped out at me:

Petersen rightly points out that generally out theology is sound, but our practice is not. In fact, most evangelical churches are orthodox in belief, but heretical in practice!

Petersen then lists four areas where this is true, and expands briefly on each.

* the (active) Headship of Christ
* the nature of the church as a community
* the diversity of function in the body of Christ
* the presence of the church in the world

So I followed up to consider the whole (long) post, which kicks off as follows:

“If we begin by asking, “When does a particular group of people cross the line and constitute a church?” our thinking will pursue a certain path. The problem with such a question is, it’s just not big enough. If we are to come to an adequate understanding of God’s people, we must begin with questions that embrace the whole of God’s workings in the world. We need to see ourselves as God’s people, in a broad context. Our understanding of the church needs to be large enough to embrace all the Bible has to say about what it means to be His people, and what it means to be in the world. The breadth of our definitions must be dictated not by the institutional boundaries that circumscribe certain activities, but by the totality of our calling.

“I believe there is a single truth that must lie at the heart of any adequate definition of the church. In essence, the church is people who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who is transforming their character and giving them gifts they are to use for service. Every believer is to use whatever he or she has to serve one another- and his or her neighbors. Most of the big passages that have to do with God’s people in the New Testament revolve around this truth.

So what is church?

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