Blog Posts on The Nature of the Church

True Kinship in God’s Family

Nick Roen

Recently, I had the amazing joy of welcoming into the world my newest niece and nephew. It’s a privilege beyond measure to be called an uncle.

However, by all natural accounts, this is an impossible reality because I only have one legal sibling, and she has never had a child. How can this be?

The Hundredfold Family

As a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction, the topic of family has long…

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Learn to Fly in the Fellowship

David Mathis

It’s a shame the word “fellowship” has fallen on hard times in some circles, and is dying the death of domestication and triviality. It is an electric reality in the New Testament, an indispensable ingredient in the Christian faith, and one of God’s chief means of grace in our lives.

The koinonia — the commonality, partnership, fellowship — which the first Christians shared wasn’t a common love for pizza, pop,…

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Meet the Family of God

Trillia Newbell

There is no denying the importance of family. My husband and children are my first priority and God’s gift to me. When my husband is discouraged, it’s a privilege to come alongside him and encourage him. When my kids are sick, my husband and I are there to nurse them back to health. Our relationships go much further than caring for one another, of course, but often these tangible expressions…

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Jesus Sings

Tony Reinke

Jesus sings.

If Scripture didn’t say it, I wouldn’t either. But it’s true. In four places in Scripture we read that Jesus, the Son of God himself, raised his voice in worship.1

Which is immediately confusing on one level. It's not that there's anything wrong with singing, just that I imagine our Savior much better suited as the silent recipient of adoration and worship (Revelation 5:6–14). But he also…

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If Your Church Is Not All You Want It to Be

Jonathan Parnell

Chances are your church gathering isn't all you want it to be. . . This or that should be different, so and so should talk less, he and she should be on time — and why can't we just get some better aesthetics in here?

Actually, though, this mode of critcism says more about our hearts than it does our local church. Perhaps we've forgotten what the church is. Perhaps…

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From We to Me

Tony Reinke

Americans since the 1960s are increasingly expressing themselves in terms that are individual-focused (“me”) rather than community-focused (“we”). So reports USA Today.

Such a trend may not be hard to imagine in society, but what about within the American Church? Are modern-day Christians tempted to find their identity in increasingly individualistic terms? Is #me trending over #we?

Yes, says Michael Svigel in his new book RetroChristianity: Reclaiming the Forgotten

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What It Means to Be a Pilgrim

Jonathan Parnell

Michael Horton writes,

There is a significant origin and end point to history, within which we ourselves are cast members. It is a courtroom drama in which we are either false or true witnesses, “in Adam” or “in Christ,” justified or condemned, alive or dead.

Neither masters nor tourists, we become pilgrims. 

Unlike masters, pilgrims have not arrived and they do not presume to inaugurate their own kingdoms of glory.…

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Wolfhart Pannenberg on Schism

John Piper

Of course, the courage of Bonhoeffer to defy the compromising state church of Germany in the early days of Nazism is inspiring. A church that did not stand with the Jews,  he said, was not the church of Jesus Christ. So at great risk he came out.

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 84, is the retired professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Munich where he served since 1968. He was very…

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What Does It Mean to Be a Pilgrim?

Jonathan Parnell

The gospel turns people into pilgrims. It comes with a culture-correcting force that creates aliens and exiles of the world.

Drawing from a 1733 Jonathan Edwards sermon, John Piper offers seven descriptions of what this looks like:

  1. Pilgrims are not diverted from their aim.
  2. Pilgrims are to hold the things of this world loosely.
  3. Pilgrims become like what they hope to attain.
  4. Pilgrims will not be satisfied with anything less…
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