Ecclesiology: Who Cares?
I. The Church Is a Faith Claim
The creedal picture: "We believe the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church"
(these are the "marks" or "notes" of the Church)
The historical picture: Overlapping, competing "Christian traditions"
The modern, individualistic picture: Mere political structures, "organized religion"
Jesus' picture: The community of disciples is his top priority
Conclusion: "The Church" calls for theological interpretation, discernment, respect
II. The Church as "the Gathering Gathering"
ekklêsia: "assembly" or "gathering"
The Assembly of Israel (1 Kings 8:14)
The scattering of Israel (2 Kings 25)
Israel's regathering prophesied and begun
(Jer. 3:14-17, 2 Chron. 36:22-23, 1 Pet. 1:1, Eph. 1:22-23)
The Kingdom of God as the restored Kingdom of David (Matt. 1:17, Acts 2)
The Kingdom is "already" (Matt. 12:28) and "not yet" (Matt. 13:47-50)
ekklêsia respects the Church's eschatological context between Ascension and Return
ekklêsia "manifests the Kingdom without being identified with it"
ekklêsia emphasizes the Church's concreteness
ekklêsia recognizes that the Church's is a "who" more than a "what"
ekklêsia respects the Church's center over its boundaries
ekklêsia suggests the Church's unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity
III. What About the "Old" Israel?
What is "the Israel of God"? (Gal. 6:16)
Supersessionism: The Church replaces Israel as "the new Israel"
Pluralism: The Church and Israel have different ways to salvation
Paul (Rom. 9-11): Someday "all Israel will be saved" by faith