Wednesday, April 19, 2006

the Church as the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth

...the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
(1 Timothy 3:15; TNIV)

A high view of Scripture is not necessarily at odds with a high view of the Church. I believe Scripture is the Word of God written. And I believe that the Church is God's household (1 Timothy 3:15) on earth, by which people can come into a living relationship with God through Christ.

Evangelicals (my tradition) have a history of a "high" view of Scripture and usually a low view of the Church. Give me a Bible and I'll get the truth. What the Church or councils say means nothing.

But this has caused us plenty of problems. Not to mention even more denominations. Starting over variant readings of Scripture. To be sure, these are churches. So you kind of go back to square one. Where do we find God's truth of the gospel of Christ? In churches. But with us as evangelicals, usually with the roundhouse: sola Scriptura, to the Scriptures alone.

The Church, for all its faults is what Christ has promised to build. On the rock of Peter. The apostles and prophets being the foundation with Christ Jesus himself as the Cornerstone.

And that Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Locally and collectively, together- in the world. Of course not all "churches" are part of the Church that Paul describes in 1 Timothy 3:15. Nor does any church (or denomination), much less any one person have it all together when it comes to the revelation of God's truth to us. No. We need the Church at large. Its testimony through time and space. Yesterday, today and until the marriage supper of the Lamb when the Church is together forever with Christ.

So let's put more confidence in our gatherings, in God working in them so that they are part of the Church: the pillar and foundation of the truth. And let's put less confidence in our own ongoing study of Scripture. Granted: Do test all things. Each of us needs to be in Scripture regularly to be able to do that. That ends up being part and parcel of what the Church is. And is by God, the safeguard as well as vanguard for advancing God's revelation of the truth of his kingdom in Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, Thank you for your Church which you are ever building. God, For your household in which we dwell. Let us be those who know and follow you and who help others to join us in doing the same. Through your Church. In Jesus. By the Spirit. Amen.

2 comments:

julie said...

We are more than the sum of our parts! Thanks Ted.

Ted Gossard said...

Julie,

Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

So true. I think we little realize just how much God has invested in the Church- and what that means- without sacrifing the focus of centrality on Christ. Though for me, and for many, I think this is changing.