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Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
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You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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THE CONCLUSION CONCERNING THE CHURCH
Four crucial elements of the bible, the—christ, the spirit, life, and the church, by witness lee, more excerpts from this title....
- CHRIST—THE EMPHASIS BEING THAT CHRIST IS THE BELIEVERS’ LIFE AND IS UNITED AND MINGLED WITH THE BELIEVERS
- MAN BEING A VESSEL TO CONTAIN GOD
- TWO STEPS TAKEN BY THE TRIUNE GOD IN ORDER TO BECOME OUR EXPERIENCE
- THE TRIUNE GOD BEING INSEPARABLE IN OUR EXPERIENCE
- THE SECRET OF EXPERIENCING CHRIST
- WHAT CHRIST IS
- EXPERIENCING AND ENJOYING CHRIST
- THE REALITY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
- THE ESSENCE AND SPHERE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BEING THE SPIRIT
- THE SPEAKING SPIRIT BEING OUR ONLY NEED
- THE SON BEING IN THE FATHER, WE IN THE SON, AND THE SON IN US
- THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING THE REALITY OF ALL SPIRITUAL THINGS
- THE SPIRIT OF REALITY GUIDING THE BELIEVERS INTO THE SPIRITUAL REALITY
- THE TRIUNE GOD NOT BEING FOR DOCTRINE BUT FOR THE BELIEVERS’ EXPERIENCE
- THE SPIRIT OF REALITY BEING THE ULTIMATE CONSUMMATION OF THE TRIUNE GOD
- THE BELIEVER’S EXPERIENCE OF THE TRIUNE GOD
- THE TRIUNE GOD IN 2 CORINTHIANS 13:14
- THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND US BEING A MATTER OF TWO SPIRITS BECOMING ONE SPIRIT
- THE MANY ASPECTS OF THE SPIRIT
- THE SPIRIT BEING LIFE
- THE LIFE OF DIVINITY MINGLED WITH HUMANITY
- THE EXPERIENCE OF HAVING ETERNAL LIFE
- THE SPIRIT AND LIFE
- THE CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
- KNOWING THE CHURCH
- THE PRACTICE OF THE CHURCH
- THE EXTRACTS OF THE BIBLE BEING CHRIST, THE SPIRIT, LIFE, AND THE CHURCH
- THE CHURCH IN THE GOSPELS
- THE CHURCH IN EPHESIANS
The Relationship between Christ and the Church
The relationship between the church and the spirit.
( Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church , Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)
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The Christian Church
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The Christian Church was born out of the legacies of the Greek, Roman and Jewish cultures. Through God’s providence and perhaps advantageous timing, the Christian Church entered a world prepared for the truth of God. The Greeks provided a universal language and philosophy that supported the acceptance of the Church.
Roman laws, organization, and commitment to peace created proper surroundings for the Church to flourish. Lastly, the Jewish religious principles, helped form the backbone of the Christian Church.
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Through a detailed examination of the language and philosophy, organization and structure, and religions views of the early Christian Church we can determine that the Greek, Roman, and Jewish Cultures all contributed to the birth and spread of the Church.
The Hellenistic culture of the ancient Greeks contributed its philosophy and language to the Christian Church. Alexander the Great built an empire united by a common thread: Greek ideology, language and culture. This process of assimilation by which Greek culture was transplanted to the east became identified as Hellenization.
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The popular Greek language became a medium on which the Christian religion could flourish, as the language created a disposition of acceptance. The Greek language was the contemporary language associated with a well-established culture.
Though the Greek religion was considered one-dimensional and simple, its language allowed the Jewish and other eastern religions, which would eventually contribute to Christianity, to communicate properly. The dominant Greek philosophical ideals of the time, which where Stoicism, Platonism and Epicureanism, all contributed greatly to the evolution of the Christian Church. One early Christian by the name of Clement of Alexandria wrote:
Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ … the philosophy of the Greeks … contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human … even upon those spiritual objects. (Miscellanies 6. 8)
Clements’ statement demonstrates how important Greek philosophy was to the Christian religion. Great philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato added important concepts and teachings to the Christian faith. The Greek culture was instrumental in providing a well-known and respected language for the Christian Church, as well as many significant philosophies, which contributed to the birth and spread of the Church. The Roman Empire provided efficient structure and organization, which catalyzed the growth of the Christian community. In the year 509 B.C. after multiple monarchs had failed to satisfy the Roman society, the Republic of Rome was founded. The republic divided the power of Rome among a group of Assemblies, two consuls and the Senate. The Republic government flourished for 376 years, but in 133 B.C. it collapsed to civil war.
After years of fighting, betrayal and violence, a powerful authority named Augustus founded the Roman Empire. Augustus brought peace and prosperity to the Roman world. This great time for the Roman Empire was called the Pax Romana, a revolutionary era where the Christian religion gained the ability to expand its administration. During the times of the Pax Romana, travel across large distances became very efficient and safe for new public highways were introduced throughout the Roman Empire. Such highways made the spread of the Christian Church much easier than before. Suddenly, messages and people could travel vast lengths very quick.
Direct highways in the Roman Empire enabled Christians to unite, communicate and gain power and information. Rome also served as a protected area for early Christians to live and worship God. The Empire’s structure and law under the reign of Augustus supported the importance moral conduct and justice, key concepts that would eventually become part of the Church’s purpose. The Roman structure and law was influenced by the dominant Stoic philosophy. Stoics believed that the highest good that man can achieve is to live a life of virtue in harmony with reason. This Stoic belief would ultimately aid in the Christian understanding of the Natural Law. It is true to establish that the Roman Empire’s structure, law and organization greatly helped facilitate the birth and spread of the Christian Faith.
The Jewish culture formed the religious foundation of the Christian Church. The Jewish people were the chosen people of God, the true descendants of Abraham. The early Christians were originally members of the Jewish faith. Many of the Jewish principles of religion continue to exist in Christianity, such as their firm monotheistic belief. Perhaps the most important Jewish relation that helped initialize the Christian Church is the life of the Messiah Jesus. The word Christian did not exist until 40 years after the crucifixion, Jesus was born and died a Jew. The origins of Christianity evolved from the heart of Jewish culture. Jesus challenged the customs of the day by teaching revolutionary interpretations of Jewish scripture.
Although they did not call themselves Christians yet, Jesus’ followers founded the beginning of the Church. Jesus used modified and logically understood Jewish scriptures to inform the people of God that salvation was at hand. The entire Old Testament originates from the Jewish written Tanakh. Much of our Christian models such as heaven and hell, angels and devils, and respect and love for human life come from Jewish tradition. Through Jewish religious conception and Jesus’s role in empowering and teaching early Christians, it is true to conclude that the Jewish faith directly aided Christianity to commence and develop.
A clearer understanding of the Roman, Greek, and Jewish contributions to the Christian Church allows us to identify the significant impact such cultures have had on the Church. An analysis of the language and philosophy, organization and structure, and religions views of the early Christian Church enables us to conclude that the Greek, Roman, and Jewish Cultures all contributed to the birth and spread of the Church.
First Church Visit
I have grown up as a Hindu Indian, and as one who does not go to temple every week either. I have never been to any kind of a Catholic service. I was nervous to go and did not know what to expect from the church or the service or even the people there. Being Hindu, I did not know very much about the Catholic religion at all. From the little that I know about the Catholic religion, Hindu rituals and prayers were very different from Catholic rituals and prayers.
One big thing was that, for church you usually go in the morning, whereas whenever my family and I would go to the temple, we would go later at night; which is what most Hindu’s went to. I went to Cathedral Basilica in Saint Louis with a few friends, one of which goes every Sunday morning. The three of them were all Catholics and I was the only one from a different religion, so it felt really weird. We went to the ten o’clock service. All I had to do was walk out of my building and walk down the street. At least being with friends, it felt a little less weird.
When we walked into the church, I noticed that there were a lot of students there. That made me feel even more comfortable, to be with people who were my age. I was a little surprised that that many students went to church on Sunday mornings. When I’m at home, I don’t attend temple every Sunday but I do know that other Hindu’s who are my age do go every Sunday. But the difference between the students who attend the Journey and the students who attend temples at home, is that the students here actually go to church for the religious service; whereas the kids at home just go for the social life that goes along with going to temple every week.
My first impression of the church was that it was absolutely gorgeous and huge. The building was white with green tops. You can hear the church bells going off every hour. The church was just beautiful on the outside. The inside did not disappoint either. Once I walked in, I noticed the beautiful stained glass windows and high ceilings. Not only are there high ceilings, but the paintings on the ceilings are absolutely beautiful. They are so colored filled, with specks of gold and red all over. I don’t really understand what the paintings on the ceiling exactly mean, but I knew that they had something to do with the Catholic religion.
What was very different from the temple that I occasionally go to, was that instead of sitting on the ground, in this church there benches. I thought that Catholic services were when you wore the veils over your heads and pray to Mary. If they wanted to erase their sins, they would go to the pope and tell them all their sins and the pope would forgive them. But that was not what people at this mass were doing when I first walked in. They greeted me warmly and tried to make me feel at home. We sat down and some people around me were praying and some were just looking up.
Soon before I knew it, the mass had started. They first started off with prayer and said some things that seemed like it was coming from the bible. There was a self-praying time and then the praise started, which was all hymns. I was not used to this because at church, I mostly sang praise songs by praise artists. I was getting a little bored singing four verses of the same melody; however, I was familiar with most of the hymns and singing hymns made the service seem very traditional. After praise, the pope spoke the word which was about sin.
I understood what the pope was talking about and I also agreed with a lot of what he said. The pope said sinning is bad but you will always be forgiven and you can ask for forgiveness during the confession time with him. However, the fact that they go to the pope to ask for forgiveness is what I do not understand or agree on. I believe that only God can forgive your sins and you need to pray to him about it. However, then that was just my view, and I needed to understand their religion and their beliefs. Next, they prayed and had bread and wine.
The pope said some things about eating the bread and wine and what it meant to eat it. I did not eat the bread or wine but I saw everyone around me eating it. However, my friend told me that you were not able to eat the bread and wine if you skipped a mass, unless you did the confession, because it was against the 10 commandments. Afterwards, the mass ended by doing the rosary prayer. For rosary prayer, they believe that the number of rosary prayer they do will pile up and be good for heaven. Therefore, the more rosary prayers, the better it is. When the mass ended everyone stood up and went outside to talk to each other.
It was surprising how the service at the mass was the complete opposite of what I had imagined. The mass was very beautiful. Just what the pope was saying and the quietness of it was just beautiful. After mass, all the college students went out to eat and to hang out. I followed my friend and met some people from different schools. They talked about their school life and different stories about their week. I felt like I was in a social gathering and everyone was warm and welcoming. It was good to see how they all were curious about each other and cared for each other.
I was confused as to what the Catholic religion entailed, but I had ideas of what the Catholic religion was, but either some my ideas were wrong or I had actually learned something about the religion. By going to a mass service, I do have a better understanding of what the religion entails now. I never took the time to realize how similar, yet different religions could be. They all have the same concept of there being a God or someone in control, but there are so many variations. I knew that there were many different religions out there but I only grew up being aware of only mine.
I believe that it is really important to have an open mind about religion. After this experience, I learned that I need to understand that there are different people out there and we all have different thoughts on religion. Overall, I liked taking the time to learn more about a religion by attending this mass. I felt like I learned a lot and it would be different from just learning about it from reading a book. Even though I have strong faith in my religion and did not agree on a lot of aspects of Catholicism, I liked the experience a lot and I hope that I can try out different religions from now on.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church Visit Review
A place of praise and sincere prayers bring us closer to the Almighty. I have a strong regard for all the faiths, spiritual locations and the mode of prayers they follow. I believe it is more crucial to have a strong faith, and this faith will lead us on the correct course. I decided to check out a location of worship of other faith and on my visit to Dubai recently, I went to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. It is a lovely church located in Dubai and is committed to “Our Girl of Assumption” (St. Mary’s Catholic Church, n.d.). When I entered the Church facilities, I was a little uncertain and did not understand whether I was doing a best thing or not. Still I was brought in towards the serene interior, and felt that I have certainly come inside a holy location. I sat on a bench and looked towards the eyes of the Mother’s statue, and felt as if she is speaking with me and describing that it is we humans who have created the differences, however on the whole, we are all the exact same, the followers of just one Supreme Power. I felt a peace running through my soul and made myself comfy since I no longer had any panic anxiousness. I started reading my guide book, which provided the information of the Church. It was inaugurated on April 7, 1967 by His Highness, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
The land for the church was also donated by His Highness; later a brand-new church was constructed in the same place and it was inaugurated on Nov 3, 1989. It can accommodate around 1700 worshippers at a single service (MobileReference, 2010). While I read the guide, I heard footsteps and looked up and saw a man coming towards me. He was worn the practice of a father and looked very peaceful. He came near me and simply provided a simple smile and sat next down beside me. He was around 50 years, and had a dark complexion. He appeared to be of Indian origin. We sat calmly for some time, and did not ask any questions. Slowly I collected my courage and simply wished him hello. He too replied hey there and continued to smile, which offered me a little confidence. I introduced myself and began with a small talk of weather condition and the markets in Dubai and then started inquiring about the Church, Christianity, Mom Mary, Jesus, and other things.
He explained me everything in detail. He answered to all my queries in a very pleasant manner. After listening to his explanation, I started comparing and contrasting my own religious practices with the Christian religious practices. Christianity and Islam have some major similarities. Both the religions can be traced to Abraham, both believe in prophecies, both have faith in the messengers of God and their revelations, both have holy scriptures and follow them sincerely, their scriptures also have many similarities, both accept the theory of resurrection of the dead and both have faith in the centrality of community services. I could analyze these similarities, and when I started to think deeply I felt that there are some similarities even in their differences. Both have faith in only one God, the difference lies in the way God has been conceptualized in both the religions. According to Islam, God is single entity and he does not have any relatives and Mohammed, peace be upon him, is his prophet.
Christians believe in the Trinity and this is considered by Muslims as “shirk”, that is, attributing an associate to God. It is very difficult for Muslims to believe that Jesus is the son of God because for them God does not have any relations, He is far above human relations. Both religions believe in revelation. Christians feel that purpose of revelation is redemption, while the Muslims believe that the purpose of revelation is guidance. Muslims and Christians have strong faith that God has spoken and revealed Himself to human beings. Muslims believe that God speaks through the Quran, while Christians believe that He speaks through Jesus (ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY, n.d.). Revelation is mediated according to Christians, while according to Muslims Quran is the unmediated word of God. Sin and Salvation have been explained differently in my religion and Christianity, but I think the story of Adam and Eve is the same in both the religions. Religious community concept is same in Islam and Christianity.
They never stay isolated and like to be linked with their brothers and sisters in the faith. In Muslims, there is no “hierarchy” like the Church, and Islam stresses on homogeneity, while Christianity has the “hierarchy” system. While I was comparing and contrasting all these religious practices, Father Francis sat silently moving his fingers on his rosary. He did not even try to pull me out of my thoughtful reverie. I was awed by his patience and slowly I asked him about the Christian fasting season. He asked me about the month of Ramadan, and when I told him it is a fasting period of 30 days, he said that even Christians fast for 40 days during the Lent season, but this practice is not followed by all the Christian Churches.
The Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics usually observe Lent season (Christianity, n.d.). It is not as strict as the Ramadan fasts, but there are other dietary restrictions. During the fasting period, the dietary laws forbid the use of meat, but not of eggs, or dairy products or seasonings made of animal fat. The fast is not compulsory and people from 14 to 60 years of age can observe the fast according to their will. He also told me about the different feasts celebrated in the Church and the different dishes prepared on these occasions.
He said because Dubai is like one of the cosmopolitan places, people from all over the world are among the Church members and therefore the feasts also have a variety of exotic dishes from all over the world. People are ready to offer free service and lot of charity work is undertaken by the Church members. Food, clothes and money are sent to across the world throughout the year, and on festivals money is collected and donated to different Charity hospitals and Christian organizations in the underdeveloped countries. I was quite impressed by the work being done by the Church, and asked him if I could donate a small amount. He just smiled and touched my shoulder, and said that if I want to donate money I have to go to the Church office. He said it was time for his prayers. I thanked him for his patience and all the information he had given. It was getting late for me too and I got up to leave the premises of the Church.
On my way home, I kept on thinking about the Church and the reasons behind visiting it. Was it coincidence that I went to this particular Church? Was it coincidence that I met Father Francis? Will I be able to visit the Church again? Did I visit the Church just for the sake of this assignment? My mind was busy questioning me all these things, and my heart did not have any answers. When I was reaching Al-Khobar, I heard the Azaan, the call for prayer, and realized that I had to go to my mosque. I directly drove towards the mosque and entered the premises and to my utter surprise, I felt the same calmness and relaxation that I had felt when I had entered the Church. This ultimately made me realize that Allah is everywhere, He resides in the hearts of human beings, we can pray Him in the way we want, and the Supreme master will listen to us because He is above all the human differences.
The creator will decide what form of prayer is right or wrong, we can just bow our heads in front of His Excellency whether it is in a Church or in a mosque. Humanity is the most important religion, but when human beings fall under the category of a particular religion they forget about their basic religion-humanity. Religions are basically meant to remind us about our humane values and responsibilities as true human beings, every religion and every religious place is respectable and when people around the world accept this fact, the world would become a better place. My visit to the Church was not a coincidence; it was part of a greater plan so that I could understand some important facts of humanity and religion.
When I walked in the Church, I was just thinking of completing my assignment and had a lot of apprehensions, but when I came out of the Church I had learned many things and my mind and heart were calm under the effect of the peaceful ambience of the holy place. This assignment helped me to understand some of the basic values of my religion and Christianity and I am indeed thankful to the organizers, my professor and the University for giving me an opportunity to learn something new about my own religion, Christianity and humanity.
- ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2014, from Answering Islam: http://www.answering-islam.org/Intro/comparison.html
- Christianity. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2014, from Christianity Stack Exchange: http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/18320/do-united-methodist-church-members-really-eat-ham-during-easter MobileReference. (2010). Travel Dubai. MobileReference.
- St. Mary’s Catholic Church. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2014, from Saint Mary’s Dubai: http://www.saintmarysdubai.com/
The Christian Church. (2016, May 06). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-christian-church-essay
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State and Church Primary Issues Essay
Introduction, contemporary church/state issues, recommendation.
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During the Roman Empire, Church and State worked together. However, several events occurred that separated them, these included the splitting of church, which later led to various reforms in States. Today most States such as United States and United Kingdom, assume secularist governments that make and apply their laws without necessarily consulting religious sectors. This has fuelled a number of issues ranging from disruption of prayers in public schools, to institutional conflicts. This paper will explore and identify one of the main issues facing the State and Church; it will also endeavor to recommend solutions to the same.
The church and State have had several issues for centuries, most of which still remain unresolved. These issues have instead increased, leaving the question as to whether they will ever be resolved unanswered. Among the issues that face Church and State are separation of Church from State, secularism of the state, Disputes on symbols and mottos as well as conflicts between institutions of State and religious institutions, among others. One of the main issues surrounding Church/State conflict is the role of Church in a State. In most Countries, such as United States and Britain, secularism and cults have infiltrated their policies and law courts. This has continued to draw the Church away from State. Churches no longer correct States; moreover the States have enacted laws that give people freedom of religion. United States is no longer a Christian nation by law. Moreover, the church has been isolated by State, even though it is willing to provide guidance and advice whenever called upon. The Church feels cheated by State since basic structures of States have been infiltrated by what the church believe, are ungodly (cult and secularism). This separation, although not uttered publicly, can be seen in the way State conducts its duties as well as the constitution (interpretation of the first amendment). There is no clear boundary given to the Church, however with growing secularism and cults whose symbols take stage in most States, the State’s position becomes clearer, that State has chosen to work without the Church. In fact, nowadays Church guides States only on invitation.
Church usually tries to guide the State on issues likely to affect people’s focus on God. Nonetheless, this rarely happens in recent times. Both the State and Church feel obliged to lead the people, and this fuels further conflicts as they try to control the population. The State is increasingly moving away from Church with more infiltrations observed in its structures and institutions, mainly in the name of freedom and democracy. Cult has taken shape in most States, and this has greatly affected the Church’s influence on State policies. As it looks, The State is increasingly drifting away from Church.
Going by the happenings in the contemporary Church and State, it is increasingly becoming clear that State feels adequately prepared to work without the Church and so they move in opposite directions. However, Church knows that the State cannot stand alone; it needs guidance and counseling. Church should therefore keep seeking to help the State in every way possible, maybe in the future, the State will embrace it, but even if these issues are not resolved, Church should focus on its duties, or at least what it’s allowed to do, for the good of people.
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- Latter-day Saints do not accept the creeds, confessions, and formulations of post–New Testament Christianity.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not descend through the historical line of traditional Christianity. That is, Latter-day Saints are not Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant.
- Latter-day Saints do not believe scripture consists of the Holy Bible alone but have an expanded canon of scripture that includes the Book of Mormon , the Doctrine and Covenants , and the Pearl of Great Price .
In unequivocal terms, we as members of the church assert belief in God, our eternal Father, his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Some creeds call for a belief in the Holy Trinity, where it is understood that all three are without form and are one. We do not believe in a trinity. From there, other distinctions include adoption of the Nicene creed and the belief that all prophets and revelation from God are contained in, and do not extend beyond, the Bible. However, we believe The Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and is a book of scripture written by prophets about the coming of the Savior. We also believe in modern prophets and subscribe wholeheartedly to continuing revelation.
What does this mean to members of the church? We might understand a bit better why some say we aren’t Christian. It doesn’t mean we agree. For we are. Religious scholars, citing the above differences may say that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not part of traditional, reformist or historical Christian sects. Scholars recognize, however, they’re referencing the creeds, reformist histories, and closed canon type of Christianity when they do. But when said in front of, and repeated by, the average lay person, this can bring confusion. With the simple definition of Christianity as belief in Jesus Christ, we as members of the restored church of Jesus Christ find that we are still answering the question that never seemed germane .
There is a lot to be said for the simplest approach being the best approach. Truly, if we as a group asserted that Christians are people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, instead of overanalyzing semantics, we have room to grow together. As is evidenced by the multitude of Christian religions, the interpretation of doctrine varies. But does that matter? For as Jesus said, “be one, and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” What would happen if we embraced all whom declare themselves to be followers of Jesus, and included each other in Christian conversation?
Perhaps if I had the panache to eloquently converse with the early naysayers in my life, or even the current ones, I could simplify the discussion with my emphatic witness that I believe in and follow my Savior Jesus Christ. I’m humbled by his life of service and the sinless sacrifice that he offered for our eternal benefit. I rejoice in his resurrection and the hope of his Second Coming. Despite the doctrinal details where we differ, our hope is that, as disciples of Christ, we can come together in the virtuous application of a Christian life.
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Introducing The Keller Center
The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics helps Christians show unbelievers the truth, goodness, and beauty of the gospel as the only hope that fulfills our deepest longings. Help train Christians to boldly share the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that clearly communicates to this secular age.
The Mission of the Church
The mission of the church is the task given by God for the people of God to accomplish in the world.
After defining the terminology this essay will explore the nature of the church’s mission in light of the missio Dei and the apostolic pattern in the New Testament and the book of Acts in particular. It will evaluate contemporary broader ideas of mission and conclude with a re-emphasis on the gospel-centered focus of the New Testament pattern.
The mission of the church is the task given by God for the people of God to accomplish in the world. In simplest terms, the mission of the church is the Great Commission—what Philip Ryken calls “a clear, unambiguous statement of [the church’s] mission to the world.” 1 Our task as the gathered body of Christ is to make disciples, by bearing witness to Jesus Christ the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit to glory of God the Father. 2
Defining Our Terms
In talking about the mission of the church, we are not trying to enumerate all the good things Christians can or should do to love their neighbors and to be salt and light in the world. The issue at hand relates to the church as church. What collectively as an organized institution must we be about as God’s people if we are to faithfully accomplish his purposes for us in the world?
If the word “church” is important, so is the word “mission.” While “mission” does not appear in most English Bibles, it is still a biblical word. Eckhard Schnabel— who, with almost 2000 pages on Early Christian Mission and another 500-page work on Paul the Missionary , is probably the world’s leading expert on mission in the New Testament—makes this point forcefully:
The argument that the word mission does not occur in the New Testament is incorrect. The Latin verb mittere corresponds to the Greek verb apostellein , which occurs 136 times in the New Testament (97 times in the Gospels, used both for Jesus having been “sent” by God and for the Twelve being “sent” by Jesus). 3
The apostles, in the broadest sense of the term, were those who had been sent out. This sent-outness is also the first thing we should note relative to the term missionary . It is, after all, the first thing Jesus notes about his mission, that he was sent to proclaim a message of good news to the poor (Luke 4:18). Being “on mission” or engaging in mission work suggests intentionality and movement. 4 Mission, at the very least, involves being sent from one place to somewhere else.
Every Christian—if we are going to be obedient to the Great Commission—must be involved in missions, but not every Christian is a missionary. While it is certainly true that we should all be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have (1Pet. 3:15), and we should all adorn the gospel with our good works (Titus 2:1), and we should all do our part to make Christ known (1Thess. 1:8; 2Thess. 3:1), we should reserve the term “missionary” for those who are intentionally sent out from one place to another. Strictly speaking, the church is not sent out, but sends out workers from her midst. Our fundamental identity as church ( ekklesia ) is not as those who are sent into the world with a mission, but as those who are called out from darkness into his marvelous light (1Pet. 2:9). 5
Jesus’s Mission and Ours
Before the sixteenth century, “mission” was primarily a word used in connection with the Trinity. The “sending” theologians talked about was the sending of the Son by the Father, and the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father and the Son. This is a crucial point. We will not rightly understand the mission of the church without the conviction that “the sending of Jesus by Father is still the essential mission .” 6
And what was the nature of Jesus’s ministry? Jesus ministered to bodies as well as souls, but within this holistic ministry, he made preaching his priority. Preaching is why he came out in public ministry and why he moved from town to town (Mark 1:38-39). The purpose of his Spirit-anointed ministry was to proclaim good news to the poor (Luke 4:18-19). He came to call sinners to repentance and faith (Mark 1:15; 2:17). Although Jesus frequently attended to the physical needs of those around him, there is not a single example of Jesus going into a town with the purpose of healing or casting out demons. The Son of Man never ventured out on a healing or exorcism tour. His stated purpose was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
Of course, Jesus’ mission must not be reduced to verbal proclamation. Unique to his identity as the divine Messiah, Jesus’s mission was vicariously to die for the sins of his people (Matt. 1:21; Mark 10:45). Concomitant with this purpose, Jesus’s public ministry aimed at the eternal life that could come to the sinner only through faith in Christ (John 3:16-17; 14:6; 20:21). We see this in Mark’s Gospel, for example, where the entire narrative builds toward the centurion’s confession in Mark 15:37 where, in fulfillment of the book’s opening sentence (Mark 1:1), the Roman soldier confesses, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Leading people to this Spirit-given conviction is the purpose of Mark’s gospel and of Jesus’s ministry. The Messiah ministered to bodies as well as souls and made preaching his priority so that those with ears to hear might see his true identity and follow him in faith.
It’s no wonder, then, that all four Gospels (plus Acts) include some version of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 13:10; 14:9; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). The mission given to the bumbling band of disciples was not one of cultural transformation—though that would often come as a result of their message—but a mission of gospel proclamation. To be sure, God’s cosmic mission is bigger than the Great Commission, but it is telling that while the church is not commanded to participate with God in the renewal of all things—which would, presumably, include not only re-creation abut also fiery judgment—we are often told to bear witness to the one will do all these things. In short, while the disciples were never told to be avatars of Christ, it is everywhere stated, either explicitly or implicitly, that they were to be ambassadors for Christ (2Cor. 5:20).
A Mission Too Small?
No Christian disagrees with the importance of Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples, but many missiological scholars and practitioners have disagreed with the central or controlling importance of the Great Commission. John Stott, for example, in arguing for social action as an equal partner of evangelism suggested that “we give the Great Commission too prominent a place in our Christian thinking.” 7 Similarly, Lesslie Newbigin concluded that the “Christian mission is thus to act out in the whole life of the whole world the confession that Jesus is Lord.” 8 The mission of the church, in other words, cannot be reduced to our traditional understanding of missions.
In the past fifty years, we have seen, to quote the title of one seminal book, “paradigm shifts in theology of mission.” 9 At the heart of this shift has been a much more expansive view of the mission of the church, one that recasts the identity of the church as missional communities “called and sent to represent the reign of God” or as “communities of common people doing uncommon deeds.” 10 No longer is the role of the church defined mainly as an ambassador or a witness. Instead, we are collaborators with God in the missio Dei (mission of God), co-operators in the redemption and renewal of all things. As Christopher Wright puts it, “Fundamentally, our mission (if it is biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.” 11 The church’s task in the world is to partner with God as he establishes shalom and brings his reign and rule to bear on the peoples and places of the earth.
The Mission of the Church in Acts
As attractive as this newer model may seem, there are a number of problems with the missio Dei paradigm for the mission of the church. It undervalues the Great Commission, underemphasizes what is central in the mission of the Son, and overextends our role in God’s cosmic mission on earth.
Besides all this, the new model has a hard time accounting for the pattern of mission in the earliest days of the church. Acts is the inspired history of the mission of the church. This second volume from Luke describes what those commissioned at the end of the first volume were sent out to do (Luke 24:47-48). If the Luke’s Gospel was the book of everything Jesus began to do and teach (1:1), then Acts must be the record of all that Jesus continues to do and teach.
We could look at almost any chapter in Acts to gain insight into the mission of the church, but Acts 14 is especially instructive, verses 21-23 in particular. At the beginning of Acts 13, the church at Antioch, prompted by the Holy Spirit, set apart Paul and Barnabas “for the work to which I have called them” (v. 2). This isn’t the first time the gospel is going to preached to unbelievers in Acts, neither is it the first gospel work Paul and Barnabas will do. But it is the first time we see a church intentionally sending out Christian workers with a mission to another location.
Paul and Barnabas traveled to Cyprus, then to Pisidian Antioch, then to Iconium, then to Lystra, then to Derbe, and from there back through Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch, and then to Perga, and back to Antioch in Syria. The final section in Acts 14 is not only a good summary of Paul’s missionary work, it is the sort of information Paul would have shared with the church in Antioch when he returned (v. 27). These verses are like the power point presentation Paul and Barnabas shared with their sending church. “This is how we saw God at work. Here’s what where we went and what we did.” In other words, if any verses are going to give us a succinct description of what mission was about in the early church, it’s verses like these at the end of Acts 14.
Acts 14:21-23 presents us with the three-legged stool of the church’s mission. Through the missionary work of the Apostle Paul, the early church aimed for:
- New converts: “when they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples” (v. 21)
- New communities: “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church” (v. 23)
- Nurtured churches: “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” (v. 22).
If the apostles are meant to be the church’s model for mission, then we should expect our missionaries to be engaged in these activities and pray for them to that end. The goal of mission work is to win new converts, establish these young disciples in the faith, and incorporate them into a local church. 12
Schnabel’s definition of missionary work sounds the same note:
- “Missionaries communicate the news of Jesus the Messiah and Savior to people who have not heard or accepted this news.”
- “Missionaries communicate a new way of life that replaces, at least partially, the social norms and the behavioral patterns of the society in which the new believers have been converted.”
- “Missionaries integrate the new believers into a new community.” 13
Evangelism, discipleship, church planting—that’s what the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to do, and these should be the goals of all mission work. Missionaries may aim at one of these components more than the other two, but all three should be present in the church’s overall mission strategy.
Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing
As is true with almost every Christian doctrine, there are ditches on either side of the road when trying to define the mission of the church. On the one hand, we want to avoid the danger of making our mission too small. Some well-meaning Christians act like conversion is the only thing that counts. They put all their efforts into getting to the field as quickly as possible, speaking to as many people as possible, and then leaving as soon as possible. Mission becomes synonymous with first-time gospel proclamation. Clearly, Paul’s did not practice blitzkrieg evangelism, nor was he motivated by an impatient hankering for numbers to report back home.
On the other hand, we want to avoid the danger of making our mission too broad. Some well-meaning Christians act like everything counts as mission. They put all their efforts into improving job skills, digging wells, setting up medical centers, establishing great schools, and working for better crop yields—all of which can be wonderful expressions of Christian love, but bear little resemblance to what we see Paul and Barnabas sent out to do on their mission in Acts.
Without denigrating the good work Christians do as salt and light in the world, we must conclude from Acts 14—and from the New Testament more broadly, that the church’s mission is more specific than common people doing uncommon deeds. As Schnabel argues, those demanding a “‘revolution’ in our understanding of mission—away from the traditional missionary focus on winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, concentrating rather on a ‘holistic’ understanding of Jesus’ claims” do so without strong supporting evidence. 14 We see over and over in Paul’s missionary journeys, and again in his letters, that the central work to which he was been called was the verbal proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Rom. 10:14-17; 15:18; 1Cor. 15:1-2, 11; Col. 1:28). Paul saw his identity as an apostle, as a sent-out one, in terms of being set apart for the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1). That’s why in Acts 14:27 the singular summary of his just-completed mission work is that God had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. His goal as a missionary was the conversion of Jews and pagans, the transformation of their hearts and minds, and the incorporation of these new believers into a mature, duly constituted church. What Paul aimed to accomplish as a missionary in the first century is an apt description of the mission of the church for every century.
- Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011).
- Andreas J. Köstenberger and Peter T. O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001).
- Eckhard J. Schnabel, Early Christian Mission , 2 vols. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004).
- Eckhard J. Schnabel, Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategy and Method (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008)
- Jason Sexton, Jonathan Leeman, Christopher J.H. Wright, John R. Franke, and Peter J. Leithart, Four Views on the Church’s Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017).
- Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison, When Everything is Missions (Orlando, FL: BottomLine Media, 2017).
This essay is part of the Concise Theology series. All views expressed in this essay are those of the author. This essay is freely available under Creative Commons License with Attribution-ShareAlike, allowing users to share it in other mediums/formats and adapt/translate the content as long as an attribution link, indication of changes, and the same Creative Commons License applies to that material. If you are interested in translating our content or are interested in joining our community of translators, please reach out to us .
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Church and Theological Concepts
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Simply Church: God's Prescribed Relationship Between Church and State
Conclusion to the Doctrine of the Church
A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry
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Jerald Finney Copyright © January 9, 2018
Regardless of this inevitable apostasy and the events that are to follow, things are looking good for you and me—that is, if you are a Christian! Christians can have the ultimate hope: the hope that they will reign with the Lord. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together ” (Ro. 8.16-17) [Bold emphasis added]. This should be a cause for great rejoicing as well as incentive to be responsible members of a local autonomous New Testament church and to make sure that every effort is made to glorify God and assure that a church remains totally under Christ in every way. The Holy Spirit is now calling out, not the subjects, but the co-heirs and co-rulers of the kingdom. [ii]
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3.16-19).
“[Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Ph. 2.6-8).
[i] See Jn. 8.23-45.
[ii] “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him , we shall also live with him : If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him , he also will deny us” (2 Ti. 2.11-12).
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Re. 1.6).
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Re. 3.21).
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Re. 5.10).
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro. 8.15-18).
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life” (1 Co. 6.2-3)?
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Churches under Christ Ministry Website: Understanding and Applying God's Principles for Church Headship "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:1-3). ————————————This Ministry is under the authority of Charity Baptist Tabernacle of Amarillo, Texas. Jerald Finney, a Christian Lawyer and member of Charity Baptist Tabernacle, having received this ministry in the Lord, explains how a church in America can remain under the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:10-11; See also, Ephesians 4::1-16 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-25). "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it" (Colossians 4:17). "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church" (Ephesians 1.22; See also, e.g. Colossians 1:18).
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