Urban Church Planting - Lesson 1


In this lesson on Ecclesiology, you will learn about the study of the church and its importance. The lesson delves into the nature of the church, discussing its definition, biblical images, and the church as a community. Additionally, the purpose and mission of the church are examined, with a focus on the Great Commission, the church's ministry, and its role in society. Finally, the organization and leadership of the church are explored, including the church offices, governance, and accountability and discipline.

Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson 1
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EV327-01: Ecclesiology

I. Definition of Ecclesiology

A. The Study of the Church

B. Importance of Ecclesiology

II. Nature of the Church

A. Definition of the Church

B. Biblical Images of the Church

C. The Church as a Community

III. Purpose and Mission of the Church

A. The Great Commission

B. The Church's Ministry

C. The Church's Role in Society

IV. Organization and Leadership of the Church

A. Church Offices

B. Church Governance

C. Accountability and Discipline

  • In this lesson on Ecclesiology, you will gain knowledge and insight into the study of the church, including its nature, purpose, and organization. You will learn about the biblical images of the church, the Great Commission, the church's ministry, and its role in society. You will also explore the church's offices, governance, and accountability and discipline.
  • You will gain knowledge about what a Church Planting Movement (CPM) is, its importance, and its characteristics. You will also learn about the challenges of starting a CPM and the steps involved in beginning one.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of alternative forms of spirituality, including an overview of different types and their characteristics, criteria for evaluating them, and the role of the church in responding to them. You will learn how to engage with alternative forms of spirituality in a Christian way that is both compassionate and truthful.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of tradition in urban church planting. By exploring biblical and historical examples of tradition and evaluating its positive and negative aspects, you will learn how tradition can be applied in the context of urban church planting.
  • This lesson provides insights on the significance of tradition in urban church planting, focusing on connecting with cultural context, balancing tradition and innovation, and applying tradition to foster relationships, community, and spiritual growth.
  • You will learn how church planting movements use different structures and religious authorities to balance authority and flexibility, develop local leadership, and adapt to challenges while maintaining growth.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights on building a strong identity and crafting an effective strategy for successful urban church planting, focusing on core values, authentic culture, community outreach, leadership development, and adaptability.
  • Discover the key elements for creating a dynamic church planting movement, including prayer, cultural relevance, leadership development, and discipleship strategies, while addressing challenges faced along the way.
  • By exploring strategies for urban church planting, you gain practical knowledge on tailoring approaches for city contexts, building core teams, and implementing phased processes for long-term church success.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn to develop essential leadership qualities and skills, build a strong team, and address challenges in urban church planting effectively.

We will consider the factors and forces connected to a remarkable phenomenon of church planting movements taking place throughout the world today. At a time when definitions of the Church have become more and more loose and individualized, we will analyze all church plant and growth theories as they relate to the Nicene marks of the Church in the world. Using these marks as a representative of a legitimate biblical view of the Church, we will then discuss and investigate the connection between church planting and world evangelization, growth, and leadership development. You may also access this class at Tumi.org under the title, "Winning the World: Facilitating Urban Church Planting Movements."

Dr. Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Given everything that I have said about, you know, our need to be open and critical and thoughtful and whatever, I want to be absolutely unequivocal on where I stand right up front on the nature of church. I am not going to pretend that the Nicene Creed wasn't written or that or that the Bible doesn't have a very clear ecclesiology. Nor do I want to suggest that the Reformation didn't occur. It did in the West and we're in the West. So we need to sort of know what that is. You have an outline that is labeled by their fruits shall you know them employing Nicene ecclesiology to discern the nature of church movements today. Now, ecclesiology is just a simple way of saying the study of the Church in the Bible.  And Nicene Ecclesiology is the Nicene Creed understanding of the Church. The Nicene Creed, as we're about to see here in a moment, is absolutely a wonderful place for us to begin. I think it was Archimedes who said that if you give me a fulcrum strong enough and a lever long enough, I can move the world. You think about that. If you had a long lever and a fulcrum that didn't move and the strength to brace it, you could move that lever. It's quite literally having a place to stand in a fulcrum that doesn't move. And to be a Christian to me, I think personally, I'm not going to just even for the sake of this or any other course, sort of pretend that God is not already talked to us about the nature of church. And I'm going to tell you very right up front that I believe that the definition of church we should use is the definition that virtually all of Christianity has used since the fourth century -- 325 A.D. It's a very thin but very powerful definition in the Nicene Creed, and we'll look at that in a minute. Peter Hartstein is a scholar that my old mentor used to follow very deeply and believed in. And he says, I thought that this quote on this page, I want to read it. I know it's sort of long, but I think that it gets to the very core of where some of our problems might be in sort of trying to rethink church and Hartstein says that really maybe the problem of looser and looser definitions of the church in America today or really rooted in the Reformation itself, that the Reformation itself was the cause of our sorrowful condition today. You look at this, what he says about it, he says, "A fundamental mental issue at stake in the Protestant Reformation was not that of justification, grace, sacraments or scripture, but the question of the nature of the church. It is true that the historical, political, economic, cultural and religious influences bearing on the Reformation were exceedingly complex. It is also true that the immediate instigating factor was the attempt to rectify specific abuses in a decadent renaissance Catholicism. It is true, finally, that Luther's personal starting point was not the question of the church as such, but the question of salvation. How can one be certain, in light of the perversity and pervasiveness of sin and the evidence the utility of good works to said one right before God? But Luther's discovery of the answer in the Pauline theology of justification by faith led to a new understanding of the church and a demand for radical reform of a whole church in light of church life in accord with the Gospel. Although Luther did not intend this reform to lead to cisum, to breakup, to division, the issues were so deep, so complex and so extensive in their implications that in a historical sense, one can say that the vision in the Western Church had become inevitable. It was not the result merely of excesses on the reformist side and the obstinacy on the Catholic side, but of historical forces that were reshaping Europe. The Reformation of the Reformation release creative new energies could produce genuine reform and played an instrumental role in the emergence of modern consciousness. But the consequences of the division of Christendom were also profoundly negative. Since the division left a legacy of conflict, rivalry, continued splintering and loss of religious credibility which encouraged the growth of secularism. This is very important. One result is that it is not possible to speak of a single Protestant ecclesiology. One view of the church, since Protestantism itself soon divided into numerous movements, each with distinctive ecclesial, is a fancy word of saying church. Church features distinctive certainly features Lutheran, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and Baptist Anglican Methodist Congregational, Evangelical, as well as literally dozens of other rival sects that have continued to proliferate to this day. It is possible, nonetheless, to identify certain distinctive features that represent what is decisively new and theologically significant in Protestant Church Study Ecclesiology. In so doing, one is forced to overlook many historical differences and to focus primarily on the great reformers themselves. Hartstein's point to me here is one of the most important things that we can say and understand. He simply says is that there could be something inherent in Protestantism itself that has caused us to really we began breaking away. Let me put it that way. We are Protestants. We began by calling into question Catholicism. He says it wouldn't matter much what the issues were. We said in the certain motions of having our own mind that we have to take seriously. In other words, I think you can summarize Hartstein by saying, look, you made your bed, now you got the lay in it. You started with having your own way and your own mind. We're Protestants. Thousands of Protestant sects. We all have different views on everything. We are as different as the moon and we are really quite the moon from the earth we are is I'll say this. It is absolutely central that we understand that the main divisions of Christianity had no reformation. Catholicism had trip, but the Orthodox did not have a reformation. They they have essentially been having the same things they have had for centuries. And they feel, I mean, quite literally, they understand themselves in that way. You just think different when you're a part of a movement that can actually traces history back 12 century ago. You just look at things differently. We're Protestants, and if you trace the Protestant theologies of the church and you just go back a hundred years or let's go back much further. If you actually went back and looked at Augustine and his view of the church in the fifth century, Augustine had a view that reign from the time he lived to the time that Aquinas actually came. One view of the church essentially just. welded Christian view for a century for four centuries Aquinas won. After Aquinas the reformers came in and their view lasted a couple of hundred years. And now views of the church don't last. They don't virtually last. As soon as the is the ink is drying on their actual print. I mean, there are dozens of books go to Amazon and just type in a church and see what you get dozens of books from everyone who's proliferating their particular view. Hartstein is saying that, and I think it's a good place just to begin talking about the church under siege. It could be that there's something inherently wrong with Protestant thought that just being against over against something because it has positioned us to come up with our own new definitions. So let's begin here. I want to go through this very quickly and allow for some time for us, even on this little outline to discuss. Ecclesiology or the study of the church to me is perhaps at an all-time low. My business is theology and I look at it. It's pretty to me, it's a unique time in the study of the church. Church studies are, in some ways, a book like Barnard's would probably not even have been conceived to be written by an evangelical 100 years ago. I mean, you would never even dream of saying that maybe the local church was not fundamental to the spiritual spirituality, that they wouldn't have probably even wrote it, let alone been being received as a valid proposal for a new relationship of believers to the church. And I think that there are at least three reasons for the church being under seige. And you can try these on and we can discuss them in a moment. The first one is the increase of spiritual fragmentation and irrelevancy of the church. You will get this once you jump into buying this book. By the way, some of you are looking as if there is an outline. It's it's rather fruitful, you know. That's where we are at the bottom of that, the increase of spiritual fragmentation and the irrelevancy of the church. Now, Barnard's research, it's telling and really I think it's accurate. You will see and will be able to judge together as we look at it. His commentary deserves critical response. The local church is his point is the local church may be irrelevant to the spiritual lives of millions of Bible believing Christians today. Pretty amazing. I would also say in this sort of irrelevancy of the church is that we are going to see as we jump into these books and think about this together, that faith has been privatized. It is really essentially a personal thing. Faith is nearly looked at as an existential thing between me and the Lord, between my Bible and me alone. Frankly, believers are part of that, but not substantively a part of. In many cases, the way people actually look at faith erodes loyalty to the notion of membership in a local church. There are many, many people who simply would never even begin to talk about their spirituality in terms of membership in the church. They don't define themselves in connection to other believers at all. I mean, this is this is quite common. I think, Vinous, things will shock me. I mean, I looked at some of his statistics. It just is alarming if they're right. I mean, he goes well beyond this. This is understated by Barnier's own point. And the lack of understanding of the biblical teaching on the church to me is leading to a dramatic spiritual fragmentation. Individuals are now they are designing Christianity as a piecing together of their own personal lives, a patchwork of distinct, unrelated models of church and body life. Barna will make this claim. He will say that there are literally millions of distinct, unrelated models of church. There are, as there are numerous as people who are forming them. There is no sort of one model and there's no way to put it together. I mean, his his research is just very important to me. I mean, I want to pursue it. I wish this class was a year long class. I mean, not for your sake, but for mine. I intend on studying this long after our class is over. Well, this irrelevancy also relates to me what I call postmodernity run amok. Postmodernism is just this this culture of essentially in the eighties and beyond postmodernity. There's a lot being written on that. What does it mean to be postmodern? What does it mean to be sort of in this age, in the 21st century, highly technological, capital intensive, globally connected? What does it mean? Well, what you have is fierce changes in the way culture has really helped people understand their lives in terms of culture. And I believe that has bled into their understanding of Christianity. There's a dramatic emergence of the assertion of the right to privacy. Most of our political culture is on that on that, quite literally from from. I mean, just turn on the news today. You will find everything from illegal wiretaps to abortion. It's our culture understands itself as a struggle on the assertions of the right to privacy, coupled with norms that highlight personal choice of. One of my favorite quotes I did my dissertation on post sixties of new voices in American society, especially the African American Voice. And one of one of my favorite quotes is, you know, everybody found a voice in the sixties and have not been able to shut up. In a real sense, personal choice is the dominant issue now. Privacy choice in virtually all of this sort of genuine winds of change have blown into every facet of Christian community. People actually choose churches on the basis of nursery sized parking lot convenience. It's amazing how people really make decisions now spiritually when it gets out. Did any of you guys notice this Christmas that many, many churches were closed on Christmas Day? On Christmas Day? Now you think about that. It is this is a unique time. I mean, a very unique time. We relate spiritual things as we do the commercial offerings in larger society. In other words, consumer marketing models of choice really determine a lot of what we do. I don't know if you've ever gone through them. I've gone through a number of different leadership and church conferences where we're the models are very specifically based on the model of choice. One of my favorite that I heard, I was in a conference in Nashville of all of these church group and church planning experts. And one of the guys was was talking about planning a church and how his church actually was revolutionized. When he got in a fairly big church, he got golf carts and began to pick people up in the parking lot to save them time so they could get to the building. You know, it's a big, big place. And so they meet you at your car in a golf cart. You jump on the go, you know, they take you in. And but these were the things that he talked about in terms of church, that you will not grow your church if it doesn't have a large nursery, ample parking space, a number of services that you don't that you don't spend a lot of time. Many of the mega churches you have to audition to sing. You would never just because you love Jesus to be able to sing you have to be able to read sheet music, play your instrument well. And even then we put you on a rotation. You're not just going to gleefully, with the joy of the Lord, just come trodden up. I mean, you know what I'm saying? The point is, is that church is based on models of of of of of marking. We want we we do feasibility studies, we do pilot analyzes and whatever you will see in in the house church book. He actually talks about this in terms of a Wal-Mart spirituality. He said no one goes into Wal-Mart but for any purpose whatsoever to go to an aisle to get what you need so you can leave. You don't go to Wal-Mart to chat with the with unless they're your friends. But typically, it's a place where you go get what you need and you leave. And they are saying that American spirituality in the main is become, frankly, a Wal-Mart spirituality. It's a buyer's market. You go for what you want, you get what you want, and then you leave. It's a very me, is it? That's just a part of the fierce change of of cultural of culture. And it's just bled into the church. Well, the probably the most powerful reason why we're under siege is that Christianity is seen as inane and irrelevant, deftly orthodox and seen as did this many churches today of I'll say this a Europe is a ghost land in the. Largest churches in Europe. The Anglican Church has a whole division that has been set aside to do nothing. But the liquidate Anglican Church is that are no longer you. We could go to the main Anglican churches in London, huge churches that could whole easily four or 5000 people and 20 people will be and I mean no one to put less than 2% of the stats that I've been able to find. Less than 2% of any urbanites in America are in church on Sunday morning. 2%. That's pretty powerful. So there's a wane in the spiritual vitality and a meaning in much church experience. It's led for me, it's led to a wholesale real value valuation of utility and the effectiveness of the church. Church has often been a mirror to culture rather than a prophetic witness to it. In other words, birds of a feather do flock together, people who simply like each other. It's striking to me that Saddleback uses it actually announces our desire here at Saddleback is to have serve with people you would want to vacate with. That's the standard. They've actually made it public. They give you a profile of a person. It's a maze. What if you don't? What if you don't fit the profile? I mean, what do you do? I mean, churches are dramatically changing. I have a dear friend of mine who Rob Bell, who is a great friend. He was he was in my classes and we preach in his church once a year or so. MARCIEL It's it's an emergent church. He just came out with a book on Elvis with some news, you know, your beloved, whatever. You know, Rob is real interesting. But when you preach in a church like Rob's, you can't they are absolutely insistent and they give them to you nicely and firmly. But there are dozens of things you cannot do. You have so much time and at certain times you have to do certain things. Quite literally, they have a director of their services, a person who manages all the music and everything. It's more like a show. I'm not kidding you. It's like a show. You bring in this person and. Yes, okay, you're up now. I'm out now. Okay. You go up and say what you say. I'm just saying that this is the norm now. This is the norm in many of our evangelical churches. It's just it's you know, we have just mirroring culture. So church planning, frankly, in such a scenario with such definitions is not a liberating. It's it's rather than being seen as liberating for many people. Church planning, actually starting new churches is really sad. It's counterintuitive. We don't need more churches. Frankly, we should have a few great churches that should take over. What we want to do and we anemic churches by the thousands should disband. As a matter of fact, you actually have proposals on that. Guys, I want to say here for what we're doing and this is all introductory material, but our church planning movement, of course, is an invitation to open dialog. I really want to be able to say that that that for us, what we're doing here, we're going to have to. Our understanding of church is going to require certain things of us, and I'm hoping that certain benefits will occur. What I'm hoping we can do is we can look at all of this data. This is very important, guys. If you don't do your reading and do your work, we will not have intelligent conversations. Let me just say that this whole course is based on your ability to really take this seriously. You've got to read it. You've got to interact with it. You've got to come prepared for it. Take notes on it. So the requirements is that you do a careful reading and preparation at the top of page three that you reflect and engage this material. And then there is a readiness for you to listen and to dialog in regards to it. Now, if I can get you to do that, careful reading and preparation reflect an engagement and then come ready to listen in dialog. I think that what we'll be able to do in the midst of all of this exposure is to re-envision church as liberating mission in today's world. In other words, I want to just upfront tell you I don't think that we need to abandon the local church. I think George Parnham would say, you misread me, Don, if you say it, that I'm saying that I am not a big part of his book. He talks about the characteristics of the revolution and we'll talk about those. He mentions all of that. This is absolutely a book that is not about the absence of the local church. As a matter of fact, Garrison has done his best to really research thousands and thousands of new churches that are being planted all over the old world. By the way, many of the issues that Bono raises for the American church have no bearing whatsoever overseas in India, Africa. They they don't they don't have any of the same questions, and they're completely open in a new way. So what I'm hoping is that if we do our homework, then the benefits will be plain. We'll have a real understanding of the biblical text. You will be able to discover your own view regarding the nature, purpose and significance of the church, especially as it relates to spiritual discipleship. And then we can use that understanding of the church to say, Okay, how should that affect what we do in planning our own churches? Whose models should we use? Well, by the fruits you shall know them, our Lord said. I think that the Nicene Creed gives us a standard for discerning church plant movements. I want to give you the standard, and I'd like you to. I'd like you to know that we're going to use this standard. I'm going to use it throughout the entire course. In other words, every time every time I come across new models and views of the church, I'm just going to overlay them nicely instead. In other words, I believe that the Nicene Standard is a biblical standard. I just want to make that plain. I think that it gives a concise, clear, biblically accurate and defensible view of the church. And we should use that standard as a yardstick to measure Garrison and Barna and Crider and Moore and anyone else who has a view on the church. I wonder if we couldn't see without the references, the Nicene Creed together. Would you mind doing that with me? The entire group. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things, visible and invisible. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. But God, no, the Father before all ages. God from God, light from light, true God from true God begotten not created of the same essence as the Father, through whom all things were made for us, man, and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became human for us to was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffering, and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again and glory to judge. The living in the dead in this kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and a life giver who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who, together with the Father and son, is worshiped and glorified, who spoke rather prophets. We believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sin. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen. Dear friends, this country and its kindred creed. The creator of Constantinople, Constantine. I've never seen it right. Cut, cut. Constantine Politan, how do you turn that? Can't stand. Can't stand. No. Keep going. Whatever it is, the adjectival sense of that word, you know, that creed in every sense, in every sense was used as the standard for Christian view for for centuries and centuries, in the true guise. For centuries, this creed was the measuring rod for those who would in fact be ordain, who would serve as bishops, who would teach and preach understanding the creed and each of its sections, and being able to biblically defend it was it counted as all that was necessary for those who would represent the Church of Jesus Christ for for many centuries. If you look at the one statement about the church, we believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, these four marks I am going to argue right from the beginning, have nothing to do just with the creed. I think that the bishops in 325 when they penned this, were actually informed by what the Scripture said about it. And in the in the following pages on four and beyond, I give you the rule that I would like to use as we go and discuss these various interpretations of church that we're going to encounter in this class to begin with. The church is one which I want to say refers to biblical identity. The Church, this is I'm giving you the standard I'm going to use against Barna and Garrison and Kreider and more. The first one is that any any view of the church that does not assert its unity I'm going to take to be either obviously or not true. I'm looking for this particular rule. The church in whatever form local, regional, national or international is one in Jesus Christ as one body faithful to His Word that affirms the messianic hope and which is echoed in the tenets of the pre. The creed isn't the trumpet, the great is the echo, the Bible is the trumpet. The Creed. Creed is not sacred. Don't get me wrong, the creed is a nice summary of what the Bible says regarding the truth. And dear friends, the Nicene Creed matters to me. This is I'll tell you right up front. This is one of the things that bothers me much about books like Bonds. He completely. If those of you who have read the book, does he say a single thing about the creed or about Christian history or anything like that? Nothing. He talks and acts as if the church just started. The church is as ancient as the Sequoia in the national course of California. It is all very old and it does not begin with us. There is one body and one spirit, just as you would call to the one hope that belongs to your call. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is overall and through all, and then all the dear friends. This immediately is going to raise some questions about Barna. What right would I have quite literally to come up with my own view of church? It had better be in sync with the one deal. And if you have a view of church, it'd better be in sync with the one view. There's only one. But you can see the way I understand this. And again, I hope you argue with this. This is the best theology I have up to this point. I think that this one that speaks to our expression of biblical fidelity. I am a Protestant. You're going to hear that. I'm going to argue that we really take seriously the authority of scripture, that no view of the church that doesn't anchor itself in Scripture is a rule of faith. And practice can really constitute itself to be an authoritative canon of the church. Not not not with anybody see us or any group or new movement or any movement or any pastor or anyone of the church is is an expression of biblical fidelity. We believe in the apostles and the prophets. Paul could see and feel. And still I am convinced that this this one, this is anchored in messianic kingdom identity. I think the Bible actually begins with God being at war with the serpent. It begins that way in Genesis three. And it means that we in Revelation 22, no one has the right to mess with that story. Any view of church that doesn't take seriously God's own war with evil in the world, it's a defective view. I'm just saying, I'm just giving you all the ruler that I'm going to use. I'm not I'm I definitely I do expect you to use the same one, but I've got to I've got to prove it to you first. That's why I didn't put any scripture. But hopefully you're going to fill in some blanks. And the promise of Messiah is key to the Kingdom identity. And I do believe that every single view of the church that affirms a biblical identity, a unity, is going to agree with the creed. I do. I would have. Would you accept any view of the church that denied the Trinity? I mean, in other words, we have to have some standard. And where do you form that standard? I believe the creed was given. I think God gave us just a dramatic thing. I think the bishops were right. Vincent de Lawrence gives what is the standard of theology in the history of the ancient church? Something is true if it is believed everywhere and always by everybody. So I'm not going to just let somebody just come up with their latest low view. The burden of proof is on anyone who wants to come and change that. The creed begins what we believe. In other words, it's a recognized commonality of faith and Christian belief and practice. I believe in canonical faith. The norm of biblical faith is really rooted in what the Bible gives us and what the creed is defended for a century. So that's my first standard is the church is one. You will see how important this is as we go. The second standard is the church is wholly in other words, and I'm going to define that as we go with shared spirituality under the Holy Spirit, the Church, in whatever form local, regional, national, international, which is legitimate, is going to be it's in world by the Spirit of God who empowers God's people, sojourners and the aliens to represent God's Kingdom life as it lives our fullness together in worship, fellowship and discipleship. First, Peter, two is great. We are you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation of people for all possession that you may proclaim the Excellencies of him, who call you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you are not a people, now you are God's people. Once you have not receive mercy, now you have received mercy. Dear friends, the church began with Pentecost. And I just believe that any view of the church that talks about structure or or formalism or anything else, but doesn't begin with a clear statement about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church. I see that is the fact the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and regenerates. The Holy Spirit is the one who adopts us into God's family, will seals us until the day of redemption. Who announces, who fills us and leads us. The Church is in fact a community of the spirit who gives us gifts and empowers us to accomplish God's task. The church is is an expression of of the people of God. The church is called the Israel of God. In a real sense, the motive of being a soldier or an alien or in this world I'm going to take to be significant. I'm going to judge every view, every model of the church against this. There must be some way in which this model, whatever it is, actually talks about God's people together being citizens and ambassadors of the kingdom. I'm not I'm not going to count as biblical or defensible a view that would really highlight an individualized view of the church. I just don't think it is. It is. It's significant enough. Quite honestly, of of people were not saved individually at the exodus. Do you know what I mean? The Passover is not just my personal feast. I mean, I'm just saying that if you're going to read the Bible carefully, then you're going to have to understand that God has redeemed the people He's elected, the people who represent us citizens and ambassadors. I'm going to be very critical with every one of these models to see if they understand that Christianity I mean, authentic Christian faith is an expression of church worship and discipleship. That's really what those words mean. Respectively, ecclesial, liturgical and catechetical batalla. The Church as a gathered community, liturgy as a worshiping community and catechesis as a as a discipleship group. In every sense, our worship, our service, our community, our discipline should all be anchored in Scripture and result in authentic vitality. So I'm looking for that. If it's a legitimate church, it will in fact emphasize I just again, I could give you a ton of scripture on that, but I'm just giving you guys what I'm going to use is the measuring rod. The church is Catholic, which means that is historically connected. I am not talking about Roman Catholic. Please do not understand. I'm just saying that any of you, according to the creed of the church, in whatever form it must assert the catholicity of the Church. The Church is a universal communion of believers joined together in orthodox faith. It extends over the whole earth. It includes all saints who ever believe both living and dead, representing every kindred tongue. People in a nation where the gospel has been proclaimed, believed and expressed. There is one church in any view that wants to claim to be biblical. It better assert catholicity. Frankly, you're going to see that many of these things that these guys are saying, they don't say a word about the Catholic Church. Not not not in the sense that it is. In fact, to be very honest, I've talked to Rob about it, the emerging church, many of you know this, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, there's a ton of guys. It's largely a white middle class move. When you talk to the guys. Why is penetrated among blacks or brown Latinos, poor folk? Why is it just white and middle class people who can drive 45 minutes to your sanctuary? I mean, have you ever thought about that? They I mean, thought about for heaven's sake, many of them. Well, let me repeat. It's next week when I can get on my hobbyhorse and myself. But the point is, guys, is that God Almighty has actually called people who were not his people and call them beloved. Any view of the church that doesn't open its arms to everyone everywhere poor, rich, black and white barbarian Scythian bond of free. If it's just the movement of people like you or like me, how, by definition can we say it is exclusively Christian? I mean, I just don't see how you can see the way I want us to play with these ideas. The expression I want us to go into the expression of the historic roots and the continuity of the Judeo-Christian faith. In other words, I don't I don't I don't really take seriously a view of the church that doesn't take seriously the history of Israel, the early church and church. Yes, you can see, I am thinking in this thing up, you're not just going to come with a few things about what I like in my quiet time with my people and my music thing and promise keepers of this and that and call that church not not that's not sufficient. I'm going to in I'm y'all know I'm irascible enough that I am forceful enough. I hope I don't just put The Quietus on your own music. I'm just trying to give you my own. I'm just telling you honestly, all I find. No, I do not find it persuasive. Any view of the church that ignores our historic roots and continuity in the Judeo Christian faith? I take seriously the phrase in the Apostles Creed The Communion of saints. I can talk about church, local, church, regional, church, national and international. I want to see it. Whoever is purporting a model, I need to know if they are where to of the church. In a larger sense, is it just church with me and my friends or me and my little group or me? Or is it? Or is it in a real sense, is it a larger sense? In them? There's the expression of radical hospitality and camaraderie. If there's anything that's playing in the Bible, is that real good work, begin in our home. It begins if we extend it to the church and good words to the world, but we are in fact know by our love for one another. Then finally, this might be the most controversial thing that we'll end up talking about as we go. Is the church, in whatever form is apostolic. It is grounded in those who possess an original and unique authority because of Jesus is all commissioning and sending them forth with the gospel. In other words, I do not want to call Christian involvement any model of church that does not give a special and unique role to the apostles. This is messengers, his witnesses in them as the authorized representatives. They were eyewitnesses of Jesus's testimony, and no one anywhere can call their word into question and claim to be authentic. So I'm looking very carefully to see if they are aware of a past eliciting the apostolic tradition. We would just call the prophets in the and the apostle the actual writings of of of of of the Scripture, the great tradition would be the Nicene Creed and all of those ecumenical creeds that are that have been recognized by the. The majority of Christians and their friends we can what's wonderful we can actually traces. We know those things that Christians of all verbs. In other words Lorenzo's point all everyone everywhere at all times by all we can actually map that out. We know what believers believed in the fourth century. We know in their friends that's important to me. And they felt very, very insistent that they were in continuity with representative authority. I will tell you, this isn't the purpose of this class. I think the Roman Catholics are wrong in saying that the Pope is the living instantiation and the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the absolute. They truly believe that Pope Benedict traced back is occupying the same chair in authority as the Apostle Peter did. I do not believe that, but I believe that they're right in principle that a church that is not apostolic is no church at all. If it does not trace itself to what the apostles saw and what the apostles taught and who they are, it is not true. Dear friends, we're going to have to read this very carefully because many of the many of the research done in thousands of churches being made and and planning in some of these foreign movements, oftentimes, I must admit, they are not real clear about the tie of those churches to apostolic authority. In other words, there is a part of church planning and urban ministry that can absolutely fuel schism heresy. You can just set little lambs in a position where they can be better and devoured by the enemy if they're not connected under legitimate authority. This is very important. So just doing church planning for the sake of church planning is not not not enough. It has to be connected to real, genuine reform. And frankly, we need to ask all those who make that claim where's the authority for doing this? And in what is it rooted in? How do we know for sure? And finally, probably the most key thing of apostolic ministry is there prophetic, holistic witness to the Christ in his kingdom. They proclaimed the gospel, demonstrated it in the end in power. You all let me conclude. I've gone much farther than I wanted to, but you can see it's 9:00 and we will typically have till 930 for clay. Pregnant. Part of the point is, is that we will, in fact, engineer this particular class. So if you have phones in your mind, we want to hear them and we need to argue about them. We need to process together the processes together. I am I am convinced that if we do not take seriously the one holy Catholic apostolic markers, if we begin with just what we feel and what we're experiencing. If we begin with data and then reason from data to the church, I don't know what we're going to come up with. We need something stronger than data. Quite honestly. Otherwise, it will just be endorsing the latest fare in evangelicalism, which is Murphy. We're not beginning with the Scripture and with the creed. We're just beginning with what we think the conclusion is plain at the bottom of page six. A subject matter in this course is going to be church planning movements past, present and future. Our strategy is to rediscover the role of the church in light of the classic biblical paradigm that the Nicene Mark summarized in. The implication is that we can dialog together and try to see what is valid in these current calls to redefine the church. And we can rethink models of church planning. Maybe we can come up with some clear census. Of that. Well, what do you think of the markers? We're. We're finished today, and we. I won't let you go early next week, but in this day where the winds are blowing and everyone is sensitive to doing anything. What, in fact, is your North Star? If we don't have a biblical and creedal affinity with historic Christianity, then what are we purporting? I don't what I don't really by the way, you guys of you can see of the Yellow Sea in your thing is a sort of a this is a a picture at a glance on what we're going to be covering. I'm going to use this as I read along with Bonnar and Moule and Kreitzer and the others. But you can see there everything that I cover at a glance. The church is one recognized biblical identity. Church is Holy Revive, urban spirituality, church is Catholic, is historically rooted in the in the history of of of the Jews in the church. The church is apostolic. It is built upon what the apostles taught. As long as any tradition will affirm what we are. Historical religion, what is really what is really interesting as you read these books is you will see that these guys make no references to history at all. They they make they they don't. They don't. It's some creep or not. It's just like they begin to think with their open bibles and talk about church as if no one has ever done any thinking about it or there hasn't been great councils. The Nicene Creed was done by a group of bishops who were on the right. The actual persecution of the bishops ended in 313 and the Nicene Creed was written in 325. Many of these guys probably had new friends who had died for the faith. These. I wouldn't be a Christian, probably, if it wasn't for their loyalty and their faithfulness identified with Christianity. I don't want a small, narrow, black, Protestant religious faith. That's not what I'm about. I want to be in the stream of the church. I want to be in the number of the true church. And I think Mennonites are part of that stream. I think Baptists are. The problem is, is that if we don't find our way back to these roots, that's why I'm emphasizing I'm saying that I think the Mennonite faith, in a real sense, defends the one holy Catholic apostolic faith. As a matter of fact, that tradition suffered gravely because they want it to be more biblical than others. They absolutely believed it. And in the face of just great persecution, they were murdered and brutally treated by everyone in the in the Mennonites. Quite literally, the Anabaptist are the most radical, the reformers, and were rejected by everyone. I will say this as a tradition. The anabaptists are just hands down, the most courageous. They're one of the they're one of the premier strands of Christian thinking and living in the history of the church. They stood their ground when no one loved them, no one, not fellow Lutherans or Calvinist. They were persecuted by everyone. They were hated by everyone. They were tortured by everyone. Theirs is a principled, honorary thing. But the point is, is that we can't just we have to take seriously that for this. I want to be grounded. I don't want to just be running around on my own, just whatever I think millions of personalized views. You wait until you're reading this. He's he's he's extraordinary. Yes. Yeah. Well, see, you know, what would what would be wonderful, Jack, if if any one of these books let's see. It's something like what you see. Look at what you just see here. There's something that is beyond us, something something unique and divine. Something had nothing to do with Don Davis. I need some more than me. I need some more the word impact. And I can't I need some I mean, Jesus Christ, how you put it that Jesus himself through his people is Roland. There's something real here. And it touches me. It cleanses me. I'm changed. Buyer Yeah, let's see. It didn't. It's not rooted in me. What is what you guys will find. And what is really significant about this day is people are defining their Christian identity from the inside out. They're beginning it inside their skin and saying, This is definitive Christianity for me. And if we go there, if it really is just up to you. Then quite honestly, I think of saying that the presidency, if you really embrace an imaginary Christ, then you embrace an imaginary salvation, but you're going through a very real hell. I like that. You better be. You better be clear that you actually are believing what is true and not just making it up. I could live with any one of these guys saying, Would you just see that Jesus of Nazareth, who in fact formed his people, has been doing this for centuries and he just happens to be doing it in the 21st century in which a tall and a little black boy from Grove Street has put his faith in that mighty stream. And I'm just a droplet, but that river is there's a river is what I see it. There's a river bigger than me and I'm a part of it. I'm a small in it and I'm participating in it. That makes more sense than saying, Don, okay, choose your music, choose your many movement, choose what you like, and then preset together and call that church. And I'm just saying that this is this is what Varner discovers. He sees it in the American church. This is who we really are. This is what we're becoming, he says. There's no correlation now. We actually are patch working together, unique experiences, and we're calling that truth. I'm just saying that that opens you up for mass. Mass. I don't know. That's that if you really leave that unchecked division here, Heresy Air are going to become more and more common. And if we as missionaries don't take what you what you see, if the theories that the living Christ is actually working in people, you know, real people. You know, I, I don't know. I mean, this this I was a Jehovah's Witness before I became a Christian. Y'all. This is why this is important to me. Maybe it doesn't mean anything. You would wait until you if you ever get into a situation like that, you have no idea of the tyranny of lies and oppression that can come from someone dictating some made up definition of church and salvation to you and what it can do to you personally or the people under you. My fear in this is that we won't be sharp enough to ground others to defend it. Do you see what I'm saying? That you won't be clear enough that you can protect someone from from this onslaught? I think Barney is right. This is coming. You can't stop it. That's what he said. That's why I love Barney. Barney's. It's as pathetic as you can get in a book like that. He says this is what is here. You can't stop it. At the end of his book, he said, There's nothing you can do. This is the way it's going to be. So you've got to. That's right. That's what he says. You've got to. If you're pastoring a church, if you want to plant churches, if you want to get people for that. Now's the time for you to awaken to this privacy, individualism that's taken over. And we have to deal with the fallout of. Yes. Stay. Yeah, I guess. Yeah, see? See that? I'm very curious what you guys think about what Stacey said. What do you do? You get the drift? The force of her point? Can you pick and choose? Is it right to set yourself apart to just win this, that or the other social sec? And in what way can you do that? When that's when when when that social segment is rooted in a neighborhood that is quite literally of all kinds, can you say, well, not any one. I'm in, in, in over there. Script in info houses. I can't. Can you. How do you how do we make sense of it. Well see see what I am going to say by the end of this class, I'm hoping that you will know these standards well enough that you would be able to say that the church is Catholic. So by definition, we don't socially engineer the church. Anyone who wants to can come. I would love to have the wealthiest or the most poor person in our church as long as they and if they're believers in, by all means, work. Does that mean that we don't target those who are furthest away? And in this sense, we have a biblical thing. The poor are the least, the most neglected, the least serve, the most underserved. So in a real sense, we can legitimately target a group without excluding. As a matter of fact, I know some urban church planners. This is honest through a lot of their ministry. And urban church Pastor Adderley is social engineering. They're looking for one black. They're looking for Hispanic. They'll say that the very upfront this is a mingle neighborhood. Therefore, we want everybody from everybody. Like you could determine that. What if only blind Nepalese women over 60 said yes to Jesus? It is none of your business who God, God can call whomever He wants for whatever purpose He wants. You give the gospel to all and you receive them all. You are open to all, even if you in fact target, I think is utterly in the same way that Paul was the was the apostle to the Gentiles and yet did most of his preaching in synagogues. I think it's entirely appropriate for us to do that. I think God can call us to a group or to a segment, and we can we can, in fact, proclaim the good news to to to all while at the same time focusing on that. But the point of the question is very, very important. And sooner or later, we're going to get I think is very legitimate. Is Saddleback wrong? Just saying we want to win, arguably winning people who are more disciplined than you we have who have a, you know, a mutual fund worth millions of house in the Smokies, you know, I mean, they're going to be very hard to reach, I guarantee, with the good news, they're more disciplined and more handsome than you. Why do I need anything that you know? I mean, in other words, our plots out of and places like that, they have a hard ministry. I just don't know if I would write a profile of. No, I don't know if I would say I will to vacate with the people. That's that maybe a little further than I would like like to go, but. The point is just better that we'll take it as we go into this. As you will see, I mean, I hope you will have your eyes your eyes peeled, because the implications of this go well beyond anything. If it goes to the very substance of what you said, Stacey. Are we valid now in doing what we're doing? Is church even worth it? That's what that's what Barney is to see. Is is it even worth it? And I think we're going to have to at least look at it. I hope we do. Well, guys, I promise you, a few minutes early. It's 915. This is the only time you're going to get on. There will be no quiz next week. So. So just concentrate on reading your material. Well. And coming back with your own questions.