This is How the Kingdom of Christ is Advanced

With the Reformation, Luther revived Augustine’s insights.  The kingdom of Christ advances exclusively through the Spiritual sword: the Word of God.  It is embraced by faith, rather than being coercively imposed by force.  In earthly affairs, unbelievers often excel believers.  We build temporal cities by our works, but receive the kingdom of Christ through preaching and sacrament.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 251

The Sheep are not “Self-Feeders”

The sheep are not “self-feeders” and the church does not simply provide resources for Christian activity.  Rather, through the ministry of Word and sacrament and the spiritual and physical care of elders and deacons, every part of the body is served and is enabled to serve the body as well as its neighbors in the world.  He has gifted ministers to do the work of ministry so that “we all” can become mature Christians,

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 184

A Fork in the History of the Protestant Reformation of the Church

While Luther, Calvin and their heirs sought to reform the church, the more radical Protestant movements have sought an immediate, inner gnosis.  Where the Reformers pointed to the external ministry of the church, centering on Word and sacrament, as the place where God promised to meet his people, enthusiasm (the Reformers’ term for radical protestant groups) wa suspicious of everything external. 

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 174