If Transformation of Life Is a Reality…

It is surely right, then, that the worshipers should come away from this worship,not only with a Gospel message for the individual, but with a strong sense of having been made a member again of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, with a new awareness of being joined once more to the joyful believing and committed company to the whole Church in heaven and upon earth in whose fellowship they happily unite in the Lord’s prayer.  If the transformation of life is a reality within the service of the Word through the presence of the risen Lord, how much more in the service of the Word and Sacrament.

– H. H. William Cant

as quoted by Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 203

Satan’s Goal in this Interim Between Christ’s Two Advents

All of the weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6 that the Spirit has placed at our disposal in this warfare focus on the delivery of the gospel to the ends of the earth, to our neighbors in their unbelief, and to believers in their constant struggle to hold fast to their confession.  A church that drops its armor and weapons — namely, the gospel as ti comes to the world in Word and sacraments — is Satan’s goal in this interim between Christ’s two advents.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 178

What Is Necessary for us to Become Pelagians?

All that is necessary for us to become unwitting Pelagians is less preaching and teaching of the law and the gospel – downplaying the means of grace (Word and sacrament) in favor of our means of transforming ourselves and our world.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 244

It is not Simply an Act of Rememberance or Rededication

We do not simply remember Christ or rededicate ourselves to Christ in this meal [the Lord’s Supper]; rather, Christ gives himself to us as the Bread of Life.  Beyond our powers to comprehend, the Spirit communicates Christ to us through these creaturely means of preaching and sacraments so that the ascended Head will not be without His body (I Corinthians 10:17)

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 219

What Do You Look for in a Spiritual Leader?

Instead of being concerned that our spiritual leaders faithfully interpret Scripture and are sent by Christ through the official ordination of His church, we are more concerned that they exude vulnerability, authenticity, and the familiar spontaneity that tells us that they have a personal relationship with Jesus.  Everything perceived as external to the self – the church, the gospel, the Word and sacraments, the world, and even God – must either be marginalized or, in more radical versions, rejected as that which would alienate the soul from its immediacy to the divine.

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 169

An Occasion for Grace Not a Means

We believe the sacraments are not so much dispensers of grace but instead are a means of communing with God as the Word is spoken and made visible.  Rather than “means of grace”, we adopt the traditional language that the sacraments are “occasions” ordained by Christ for his church when saving and sanctifying knowledge of the gracious Redeemer is presented to people.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 113

Characterization of a True Church

A true church is one characterized by:

  1. Regenerated church membership (I Corinthians 14:22-25)
  2. Qualified leadership (Acts 2:42; 4:35-5:2; 6:1-6; 8:14; 14:23)
  3. Preaching and worship (Acts 2:42)
  4. Rightly administered sacraments
  5. Spirit Unity
  6. Holiness
  7. The Great Commandment to love
  8. The Great Commission to evangelize and make disciples

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 38-39

A Definition of ‘Church’

The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord.  In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and Communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 38

The Puritans Sought Holiness

The Puritans sought holiness through a diligent use of the outward ‘means of grace’: the Word, the sacraments, and prayer.  These ordinances of Christ are given to the church: it is not simply the reading, but especially the preaching of God’s Word that is an effective means ‘of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.’  The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are celebrated in the community of the church; the Lord’s Prayer is a ‘we’ prayer, given by Christ to his disciples as a model for their praying together.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 89-90

The Visible Church

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly administered, according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

 

– Thomas Cranmer, in the Forty-two Articles of the Church of England

as quoted by Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, copyright 2000, page 9