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No Church, No Problem?

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We are commanded not to become self-feeders who mature beyond the nurture of the church, but to submit ourselves to the preaching, teaching, and oversight of those shepherds whom God has placed over us in Christ.

How many times have you heard that the church is not a place but a people? Across the board, from more traditional to more experimental approaches to ministry, the dominant perspective seems to be that we gather on the Lord's Day primarily in order to do something for God and each other rather than first of all to receive something from God. Drawing on Darrell Guder, Emerging church leader Dan Kimball has recently argued that in its emphasis on the "marks of the church" (preaching and sacrament) the Reformation inadvertently turned the focus away from the church-as-people who do certain things to the church-as-place where certain things are done.

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1 [ Back ] Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Reveal: Where Are You? (South Barrington, IL: Willow, 2007).
2 [ Back ] George Barna, Revolution: Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2005), back cover copy.
3 [ Back ] Barna, 180.
4 [ Back ] George Barna, The Second Coming of the Church (Nashville: Word, 1998), 96.
5 [ Back ] Barna, The Second Coming of the Church, 68, 138-40.
6 [ Back ] Barna, The Second Coming of the Church, 177.
7 [ Back ] Barna, The Second Coming of the Church, 65.
8 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 203.
9 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 208.
10 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 22.
11 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 210.
12 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 17.
13 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 175.
14 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 62-63.
15 [ Back ] Barna, Revolution, 70.

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Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "No Church, No Problem?" July/August 2008 Vol. 17 No. 4 Page number(s): 16-20

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