Charles Arn, a long-time leader in the realm of church health and church growth just published a conversation-generating article on the blog of Wesley Seminary offering a caution about being “missional…
In their zeal to create the Kingdom of God in the world, some who “buy into” the missional movement seem to have (or develop) a bias against the established church. Their commitment is to “bring the Kingdom of God into the community.” But, the success of those kingdom-building efforts does not seem to be evaluated on whether those who are exposed to “the Kingdom” are ever reached and assimilated into active membership and participation in a local church.
A commitment to the great commission (Mt. 28:19-20) demands a “high view” of the church—that the church is absolutely essential. It is not a Body of Christ; it is the Body of Christ. Not just a bride, but the bride of Christ. The Church is held to be the central part of God’s plan for the salvation and discipling of people and nations. New converts must not only believe in Jesus Christ, but must become responsible members of the Church. If the Bible is to be taken seriously, we cannot hold any other point of view. Becoming a Christian means becoming a part of the Body. In fact, unless non-Christians believe and become part of the Church, personified through the local congregation, the ultimate value of our “missional” activities must be questioned. This is the high view of the Church. A low view of the Church is that whether or not you belong to the Church is more or less a matter of choice. If you like it, you belong; if you don’t, you don’t.
Have a thought to share about Dr. Arn’s article? Read the entire piece and respond at Wesley Seminary’s Blog.