Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The one function of the church...

So I was strolling by Pagitt's blog and was directed towards this interview on Crosswalk.com between Paul Edwards and John MacArthur. It was the following quote by Monsieur (that's for my French friends) MacArthur that really struck me:

MacArthur: "I’m going to seem anachronistic if not an outright dinosaur at this point. I believe the church has one function, and that is to guard the truth, to proclaim the truth and to live the truth. So you take the Word of God, you teach it, you proclaim it, you protect it, you defend it, and you live it, and that’s a church. The Word of God rightly divided, rightly understood."

Teaching and proclaiming the Word? Yes.

Living it (or attempting to...hey, after all we're not perfect)? Yes.

But protecting it and defending it? It almost makes me seem like I'm some sort of gatekeeper that swings a sword to keep the evil forces of the world at bay.

Does God need me to defend Him? Does He need me to protect His Word? Am I charged with guarding the truth? Am I really the last line of defense? Am I really any line of defense?

It seems like there is a growing number of people who somehow believe that all of church history and every part of the Christian faith will get flushed down the toilet if they don't declare themselves the only true defenders of Truth and stomp out anyone voices that, by their own accord, are contrary.

Is it really the place of the church to protect and defend the Word of God?


Bryce Ashlin-Mayo said...

I think anytime people zero in on any one of the Church's purposes it becomes dangerous. The Church is not soley about doctrine, just as it is not soley about evangelism, or about discipleship, or even about feeding the poor. The Church is more wholistic and beautiful than any one of these dimensions alone can articulate.

The Church should care about truth but interetingly, throughout history, the most horrible things the Church has done have been in the name of truth (inquisitions, buring of 'heretics,' house arrest of Galileo, crusades, etc.).

If the Church becomes solely focused at what it believes at the expense of what it is called to do, it simply has lost it way. However, the opposite is also true as orthodoxy (right belief) always leads to orthopraxy (right practice).

jon or angie said...

haven't checked in for a while mike, sorry, i've been busy saving the world by writing papers no one will ever read.

i agree with bryce about macarthur. unfortunately what macarthur means is that he is going to guard his version of the truth, and even more unfortunately his method of preaching and guarding that truth ends up sacrificing much of what it takes to live an important part of that truth which is loving and humble dialogue on matters of interpretation.

i consider him a brother in the Lord, and a great preacher in many respects, but i wince at his approach to the world.