We here at Gospel Convergence love the church, and specifically the local church. We hope this has come through both in our iFAQs as well as in all the posts you find on our blog.
The reason we love the church is, first and foremost, because Jesus loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus values the church immensely and so do we. This is why we have decided that only those who are committed members of their local church will be illegible to join us as co-authors. Practically, this fleshes itself out in the form of church membership because the greatest expression of our love for Jesus and his church is through the public commitment of church membership.
Even though church membership has fallen out of vogue in recent years, especially among younger Christians, we remain committed both to the church and the practice of church membership because we believe both are important to Jesus. We do not believe it is enough for someone to simply say they love the church because a feeling without a commitment is worthless. The best way we can express our love for the church is in coming under the authority of our local church through church membership.
We stand alongside pastors and theologians throughout church history who likewise placed a high value upon the church (local and universal) and church membership such as Cyprian of Carthage who wrote, “He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother” (On The Unity of the Church, 6). And John Calvin, “to those to whom he [God] is a Father, the Church must also be a mother” (Institutes 4.1.1).
Furthermore, we heartily agree with John Stott when he says, “The church lies at the very centre of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history” (The Living Church, pg 19).
For these reasons, and many more, we love the church and believe her to be important.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:25-30 NIV)
Check out our iFAQ Page for all of our iFAQs.