Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why Another Church?

Posted originally by Josh Hinson on Covenant Life Presbyterian Church's website. 

Why Another Church?

When the Son of God took upon flesh, he assumed the role of Mediator between God and man. As mediator, he exercises the offices of prophet, priest, and king. As king, Christ is ruler over a kingdom that has been inaugurated (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:15), but awaits consummation in the new heavens and new earth.
The kingdom of God is certainly bigger than the church, and includes the uniting of all things in Christ in heaven and on earth (Eph. 1:10), but the clearest visible manifestation of this kingdom is found in the church. It is here that the King’s law and gospel are heralded and his ordinances are carried out through the officers Christ the King has given to the church by the Holy Spirit. In this sense then, “the church is an embassy of Christ and the age to come even in this present evil age.”
Because of this, the church is unique to every other institution on the planet. “This is why we must assemble at a place where the gospel is truly preached, the sacraments are administered according to Christ’s institution, and there is a visible form of Christ’s heavenly reign through officers whom He has called and sent.”1
America’s brand of evangelicalism, with its massive crusades and revivals, has been largely about people making decisions in favor of Christ and the gospel. As noble and important as this is, the pattern of the apostles and of the New Testament is the establishment of local congregations, uniting those who have come to Christ with other members of his body and under the leadership he has appointed. The apostles planted churches, returned to strengthen churches, wrote to churches, and appointed leadership for churches. The Great Commission is about more than making decisions; it is about making disciples.
Among the many metaphors used to describe the church, one of the most common is the body of Christ. Individual Christians are members who jointly make up the body of Christ, having union and communion with one another in her living head, the Lord Jesus. In the church, the body is nourished by Christ and built up upon the foundation set by the prophets and the apostles (Eph. 2:20), with Christ Jesus being the chief cornerstone. It is in the church that the “one another” commandments are carried out, the faith once for all delivered to the saints is upheld and contended for, and the gospel of Christ is  proclaimed to the ends of the earth.
We have no lack of churches in the South. From large historical buildings with noted ecclesiastical lineages to new nondenominational “ministry centers” which open in store fronts – we have our share. So why do we need yet another one?
We believe that the Reformed tradition of the Protestant Reformation (those churches represented by the Reformed of continental Europe and the Presbyterians of Scotland) is the ecclesiastical tradition most consistent with Scripture. We long to extend a passion for knowing and delighting in the glory of God by planting a church from this rich tradition in Camden County, which by a recent estimate has a population of over 50,000.
By saying this, we are not claiming to have a premium on the gospel or to be the only faithful Christians in the Kings Bay area. However, it would be foolish to assume that all churches are faithfully preaching the gospel of Christ. There are many churches who are faithful in this regard. To those churches, we pray that you would not see us as another fast food chain competing for the appetite of consumers in the community, but as another farm in a starving country providing a feast with the means God has provided.
Soli Deo Gloria
1. Quotations are from Michael Horton, No Church, No Problem?

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