Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Anomaly of the Lone Ranger Local Church

A local Orthodox Evangelical Christian church dose not exist in isolation from other Orthodox Evangelical Christian churches any more then individual Christians exist in isolation without reference to other Christians. There is no place in the New Testament that gives an example of such a church.

Now it is possible a local church may exist in a remote area, and under primitive conditions that hinder that local church from having vital contact with other churches. But for a healthy church that isolation is not something deliberately chosen as matter of policy or church culture.

The universal ("catholic" small "c") church is a body. Nothing happens in one area of the universal Christian church that does not in some way, large or small, impact other parts of the universal body.

The New Testament picture of relationships between local Christian Churches is one of sharing mutual concerns and mutual accountability. We may argue if that accountability is ecclesiastical or only moral, but that there is mutual accountability can not be escaped.

By the way, did I mention it's very possible for a denomination or association, or movement to have a "Lone Ranger" mentality also? Over the years I've seen that mentality both in local churches, and in groups and movements at large.

The Law of Love demands that one part of the Body of Christ not hold itself aloof from the other parts of the Body of Christ. For example, when was the last time we as regular Baptists, or Reformed whatever's, or Wesleyan Methodists, or "Non-Denominationl" Evangelicals prayed for our Evangelical Episcopal brethren caught up in the Civil War that is ripping apart the North American Anglican community?

We can not totally isolate ourselves from issues in other denominations or associations or movements. What happens in the Southern Baptist Convention, or the General Baptist Association, or the GARBC, or the various Presbyterian and Reformed Synods is happening to the Body of Christ. As such we are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice.

Do you have a vision for the whole Body of Christ, or are you so focused on your particular part that you can not see the forest for the trees? Does your vision of that Body include all whom Christ has included? Why not? What are the demands of the Law of Love?


~ The Billy Goat ~

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