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Feb

07

2011

Which Church Does Jesus Build?

Is it possible that there exist a ministry that properly confesses Christ, consists of believers committed to honoring Christ, proclaiming his word and administering the sacraments, and yet not be called Christ's ministry? That seems to be the conclusion of the idea of "calling," if such a situation existed with a man "not called."

The idea seems to be sometimes that the only thing missing in certain ministries is the man's calling. If he were simply called, then the Lord would bless the ministry. If he were not called, no matter what else is right, the ministry is doomed for "he ran, but was not sent."

The NT is hardly explicit on this topic of calling, and for such a necessary thing in ministry, I'd expect something more explicit. Something I do see explicit is Matthew 16 where Jesus tells us what church he intends to build. (This hit me a week ago preparing for a sermon and it was massively encouraging.)

I believe that Matt 16 says that the church that Jesus builds is the one centered on a proper profession of Christ, and committed to using the power of the keys (e.g. proper mutual oversight, accountability, and discipline). These keys handed to Peter in Matt 16 are, I think, passed on to the whole church in Matt 18.

If the keys are entrusted to the church, and not to a formal called clergy, then the idea of calling can be rather at ends with whom Jesus actually entrusted the keys to. Who has the keys? Who has authority to identify with Christ and preach his gospel? The ordained clergy? Or the church?

What is the Lord's ministry? What will he bless? What church does Jesus build? Those who confess his  name and gather together to oversee each other and proclaim his word. That is Jesus' ministry. I think this has serious implications for the idea the call into ministry is the crucial factor for it being the Lord's ministry, at least as I've understood it or heard it.

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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