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How You View The Church Makes A Difference

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This is a series I’m doing on churches that were planted during the new testament. Below are other posts in the series

A prophetic perspective is the ability to see God’s will at a particular moment in time or in a specific situation. Prophetic perspective often involves an understanding of the past and the present to crystallize (or make clear) our view of the future.

You can apply this to anything in your life. How do you view your spouse? View your job? View your life?

I wrote a teaching series, “How To Survive A Mid-life Crisis”. This series deals with how we view ourselves and surroundings. It makes a huge difference in how we approach life.

The same is true in our understanding of the local church.  

In the description of David’s army in 1 Chronicles 12, we read of the sons of Issachar who were “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”

That is prophetic perspective – understanding the times and knowing what we should do in those times.

Because I’m not sure where you are coming from in your view of the local church, I wanted to start at the beginning, so that we have an understanding of the times and where we have come from. In my post “The Legacy We Leave” I make the point that it is always wise to see our legacy tied to those who have come before us.

So if you will allow me to refresh our historical perspective of the Church and its relationship with the world to better understand our times and give us insight into what we should do at this moment in history.

There are two ways we tend to view the Church today.

1 Theological View – we see the Church from the standpoint of our theology (our ecclesiology or our doctrine of the Church). The prevailing theological view of most evangelical churches is that the church is composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus who have been vitally united by faith to Christ and to one another. For most evangelicals, the Church is not seen theologically as an institution or building, but as a spiritual “body” of believers with Christ as the Head (Ephesians 1:22; 2:19-22).

2. Experiential View – we see the Church from the perspective of our experience with or in the Church. While this view tends to be somewhat more diverse among different groups of Christians, it still has a prevailing or dominate theme centered on participation in a local church. Since this means involvement in the activities, programs, and services of the local church, our experiential view of the Church will be dominated by our experience in the programs of the local church of which we are a part. This experience may or may not necessarily agree with or endorse our theological view.

The practical implications of this cannot be understated. As Christians it is expected that our theology will be our experience. If that were so, we would be personally and corporately experiencing the deeper, spiritual truths we believe about the Church. The reality is, however, that our experience falls far short of our theology, especially regarding the Church.

Instead of being the Church we go to church and that experience dominates our thinking and behavior rather than our theological views concerning the nature of the Church.

A goal of every Christian leader should be to motivate and equip their people to align their experience with their theology – to live what they say they believe!

Have you noticed this in your own life…which one do you gravitate to more?

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Comments

  1. This was brought to my attention…there is another view…and please feel free to add any other views you may think of…

    3. The Critical View – because we view everything in a critical view we also view the Church in a critical view. We tend to be a combination of our own theological and experiential views, twisting them to our distorted negative world view. We are evidently unhappy in our life and compensate for our lack of our understanding how to control of attitudes and express the marvelous freedom that Christ has graced in our lives. We tend to be miserable and want to drag everyone that isn’t miserable into our pit of misery. Churches are ripe with others to influence and manipulate to our critical way. So, we critical view experts criticize everyone and everything dragging down all good and attempting to destroy everything else on our own destructive path.

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