Project: Your Statement of Faith - Lesson 9

Article Eight: Ecclesiology (doctrine of the church)

This lesson covers the topic of Ecclesiology, which is the doctrine of the church. It begins by defining the church and its distinctive characteristics. It then moves on to discuss the meaning and significance of the church, as well as its relationship to the Kingdom of God and the Bible. In particular, the lesson examines the mission of the church and how it is related to the Bible and the Kingdom of God.

Bill Mounce
Project: Your Statement of Faith
Lesson 9
Watching Now
Article Eight: Ecclesiology (doctrine of the church)

TH099-09: Article Eight: Ecclesiology: Doctrine of the Church

I. Introduction

A. Definition of the Church

B. Distinctive Characteristics of the Church

II. Meaning and Significance of the Church

A. The Nature of the Church

B. The Purpose of the Church

III. The Church and the Kingdom of God

A. The Kingdom of God and the Church

B. The Kingdom of God and the Mission of the Church

IV. The Church and the Bible

A. The Bible and the Church

B. The Bible and the Mission of the Church

  • You will learn the definition, purpose, and components of a statement of faith, as well as how to create one by considering a set of questions and following a process.
  • You will gain an understanding of the Bible, its authority, interpretation, and its relationship with science, as well as an exploration of contradictions in the Bible and how to resolve them.
  • This lesson teaches you about God's nature, character, and activity, including his oneness, triune nature, attributes, holiness, love, sovereignty, and his activity in creation, providence, and redemption.
  • This lesson explores the person and work of Jesus Christ, providing a comprehensive understanding of His divine and human natures, humiliation, exaltation, redemption, and resurrection.
  • You will gain knowledge about the nature, work, and experience of the Holy Spirit from this lesson, including its definition and names, its relationship to the Father and the Son, and its baptism, filling, and gifts.
  • Gain insight into the doctrine of man and its implications, including the Biblical anthropology, the image of God, and the consequences of sin, and how it affects our daily lives and understanding of the human condition.
  • You will gain an understanding of the doctrine of salvation and its implications in this life and afterlife.
  • You will gain a better understanding of the doctrine of sanctification and its importance in the life of a believer. You will learn the definition of sanctification, the distinctions and degrees of sanctification, and the progressive nature of sanctification. You will also learn the means of sanctification and the goal of sanctification, which is transformation, holiness, and glorification. Finally, you will understand the significance of sanctification, which is to live a life of obedience, experience joy and abundance, and represent Christ in the world.
  • This lesson examines the doctrine of the church, exploring its definition, purpose, and mission. It also examines the relationship between the church, the Kingdom of God, and the Bible.
  • This lesson explores the Doctrine of Last Things, helping you to understand the theological implications, events, and applications of Eschatology.

Now that you have listened to the lectures it is time for you decide on the three things enumerated above: What you believe; What your church needs to believe; What is primary and secondary.

The best way to for this is to write out and then explain your own statement of faith. In this class you will see how Bill Mounce, the President of BiblicalTraining, does this for himself and his church. After listening to what he has to say, then your project is to do the same for yourself.

Dr. Bill Mounce
Project: Your Statement of Faith
Article Eight: Ecclesiology (doctrine of the church)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] Okay, two more articles to go on. Her statement of faith. This one is on ecclesiology or our doctrine of the Church. What do we believe about the church? So we write. The church consists of all true disciples of Jesus Christ. In other words, we have a larger understanding of the church. We're not the church, only the church, as opposed to the people down the street. We're all the church. The church is all true disciples of Jesus Christ. All things exist of the supremacy of Christ and therefore Christ and Christ alone is the head of the church. I am not the head of the church. The elders are not the head of the church. Christ is the head of the church. We'll come back to that. The local expression of the church is comprised of disciples, gifted for the work of building up the body of Christ, living in unity, bound together by love. While different local expressions of the church as the idea may have different emphases, all are commanded to make disciples, which includes both evangelism and teaching obedience to all that Jesus taught. The Church is to be committed to the reading of Scripture, the exhortation to obedience and the teaching of the doctrinal truths of Scripture, as well as to all that is necessary for the edification of the body, including worship, singing, prayer and service, all to the glory of God. Okay, a couple of important things in there. Some churches are structured so that the person in my role, the preaching pastor, is outside the circle. So here, here's the preacher up on his pedestal, and then here's everyone else. And we have worked really hard in this church for that not to happen. If this circle were to represent the church, we're all in it because we're all variously gifted people.

[00:01:51] Every one of us has a spiritual gift. And that's because there's a lot of needs in the body and because there's a lot of needs, there's a lot of different gifting. So there are people who need mercy. So there are people who are especially good in mercy. Now we all are to be merciful, but there are some people who have a supernatural gifting towards mercy. Many of us can explain scripture, but there are some who are gifted as teachers and preachers to take a lead in that. But the point is that we're all in the same circle. We're all part of the church. And while the gifts of leadership. I don't want to use the word elevate, but I don't know what other word to use. It sets us apart a little. We still all are inside the circle and Christ is over the circle. This basic fundamental belief weaves its way all the way through this church. We do everything we can, for example, to flatten the hierarchy of the church. We don't ever want someone to to come in to church and to think, well, there there's the preacher and there's the leaders. They're doing the religious stuff. I don't have to do anything that's just not right. There are many needs in the body and we are all gifted to meet those various needs. And so we try to flatten the hierarchy as much as we can. And it shows itself in many different practical ways that aren't important here. But you need to know that that we are all in this together. And I'm not the religious guy up front who does all this stuff and therefore you don't have to. That's not my gifting. I am part of this circle and I am teaching and I am strutting and I am encouraging and I am leading.

[00:03:30] But you may be showing mercy or you may be doing this or you may be doing that. And we're all in this together. And so we try not to have a heavily structured hierarchy in this particular church. The other point that I wanted to make is the balance that the Great Commission is that we make disciples, but the commission is balanced. It is balanced between making new disciples, which is evangelism, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and the balance of making fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. And we are committed to the balance of that. One way that works itself out is that we have a well, we use different illustrations to help us visualize the church, and there are different things that we do like fellowship. That's an important we are a body, we are body of Christ. We have horizontal relationships. We do things to fellowship with one another. We do things for discipleship, for growing up in the body of Christ, a stirring upon another, the good works of growing in our face. We have things that are ministry oriented, ministry to the body. So we teach Sunday school and we mow the lawns and, you know, all those different kinds of stuff. And we have an outreach component, so. We're happy when people want to minister to the body, but that's not the end of it, that we must reach out to other people, other people in our own culture and other people in other cultures, which is missions. So we have this picture of what the church is supposed to be. And the reason I'm saying this now is that you need to know our commitment to balance. We don't want a church that's heavy on discipleship and light on missions because that's just not God glorifying.

[00:05:24] That's not what the commission is all about. And I'll just tell you upfront, my gifts tend towards the discipleship side of things. I'm a teacher, so the discipleship aspect of this church, as is true in any church, will tend to grow. And so what we've said is we're going to stay balanced and we're not going to let the discipleship component outweigh the other ones. So let's say somebody comes along with a great discipleship program, and this is that this is the program to be all and end all. We'll look at it. We'll say, you know, that's really good, but how are we doing an outreach? How are we doing on ministry to one another? How are we doing in our foreign missions? Are we balanced and. Art by design. What we want to do is say, if we're not balanced, that could be a great discipleship program. But you know, we're so heavy in discipleship already, we need more stuff for missions, We need more stuff for outreach, We need more I mean, we need to keep this balanced so we are committed to balance in this church. It's hard, especially because I'm not all things to all people. Different elders have their specific areas of interest and it's just hard. But we are committed to the balance in this church, especially when it comes to outreach and missions. Just to be perfectly frank, that's probably our greatest weakness, is that we're strong in areas of discipleship and fellowship. We're growing in areas of ministry, but we need to hit head on the call to make new disciples. Now, our children's ministry and our youth ministries are wonderfully evangelistic and we are able to see God's work in many, many children's lives. But it's not enough.

[00:07:13] And we want more. And so we pray that God sends us people that He is drawing to himself and that we will have focused attention on them so that we can be a balanced, great commission church. Sometimes I'm asked, How big do you want the church to be, Bill? And in one sense, it was really my call. You know, we can do things to limit growth, but, you know, we're not a church that advertises or a church that aggressively does much of anything to grow. But I will tell you this. I should say this is more my heart than statement of faith. I want to impact as many people as I can for Jesus Christ. I don't know why anybody wouldn't. I mean, why would you want to say. All, I was involved in the salvation of one person. That's enough. It doesn't make any sense to me. I mentored one person 20 years ago. That was enough. Now what's the point? But and here's the caveat. My dream for this church is that we be as deep as we're wide. I don't know how wide we're going to get. I don't know how big we're going to get. I don't know what God's up to in northern Spokane, but my prayer is that as we grow bigger, as we grow wider, we will be growing proportionately deeper. Making new disciples of Jesus Christ and making fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. I would have no joy in pastoring a church that shallow. I would have no joy in pastoring a church that's a mile wide and an inch deep. I just that would be a failure for me personally. So for me personally, and I have to speak that way at this point, my goal is we'd be as deep as wide and we have as great an impact on northern Spokane and Spokane, the Pacific Northwest, the world.

[00:09:04] The greatest impact that we can. As long as it's balanced. So that's my heart when it comes to the doctrine of the church. There's a second paragraph here on the ordinances and let me just mention them. Baptism and the Lord's Supper or ordinances to be valued and observed. Now, we don't believe their sacraments. We don't believe the baptism or the Lord's Supper. Our means by which God's grace comes to us and changes us. That's not our position, we believe are ordinances. In other words, God commanded them, but they are to be valued and observed. I know in some denominations, or at least in some cultures, it's kind of look down upon us, say, you know, you really do need to be baptized or you do need to celebrate the Lord's Supper for various reasons. But you know what? Jesus told us to do it. He told us to remember his sacrifice on the cross by celebrating the Lord's Supper. He told us to baptize. Peter told the Pentecost, the Pentecost people when they came, and they said, What must we do to be saved? You said, Repent to be baptized. These are important things and these are the two ordinances of God. So we will value them and we will observe them. They are visible signs representing spiritual truths. They do not accomplish salvation. In other words, we don't believe in baptismal regeneration. We don't believe that just because a person is baptized is automatically regenerated in going to heaven. He may just have gotten wet for all we know. Now we have baptismal classes. Hopefully we will know people well enough before we baptized them. But there's nothing automatic in being baptized. There's nothing automatic in taking communion. The Lord's Supper doesn't make you something that you aren't.

[00:10:52] They are simply a visible sign expressing spiritual truths. What is that spiritual truth? Well, here they are. Baptism is the washing of the believer, signifying that in conversion he has died to his old life and has been raised with Christ into a newness of life in which the power of sin is broken. This is largely coming out of the Romans six passage. You notice we did not put into the statement of faith that you have to be immersed dunked as opposed to some other ways. Part of being a church in the Baptist General Conference and frankly, part of my own convictions, is that the biblical mode of baptism is immersion, and it signifies the washing, it signifies the death and the resurrection. It's what the new early church did. And so it's what we do here. But the mode is not, we believe, any word. Well, let me take that back. I don't believe the mode is anywhere in scripture demanded. And so we wrote a statement of faith to make it very clear that baptism is a washing it. It signifies what happens in conversion, that we are made into new creatures of the powers that has been broken in our life. The other ordinance is the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is the present proclamation of Christ's atoning death and looks forward to his return. This is the verse that comes out of First Corinthians 11 four. Often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's Death. Until he comes, we're not eating Jesus. That's not what's going on in communion. Jesus reinterpreted the Passover feast and the body represents his blood. The drink represents His blood. The whole thing is a celebration that Christ died on the cross for us.

[00:12:41] And we will continue to proclaim the Gospel and to celebrate the Gospel in communion until the day that he comes back for us. So that's our statement of faith on ecclesiology or on the church.


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