The Church is NOT the Gospel

Originally Published February 21, 2009.

From Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity:

“The church has a very narrow commission. It is not called to be an alternative neighborhood, circle of friends, political action committee, social club, or public service agency; it is called to deliver Christ so clearly and fully that believers are prepared to be salt and light in the worldly stations to which God has called them…”

“The church is not the gospel. Whether packaged in high church forms (with the church as an institutional place) or low church versions (the church as transformed individuals), the idea is rife among us today that the church is engaged in redemptive mission, extending Christ’s saving life and mission the world. But if we are ever to get the focus off us and back onto Christ (much less, to properly interpret Scripture), we will have to stop giving ourselves so much credit. We do not redeem; we were redeemed. The incarnation (God the Son becoming flesh) is not a prototype for us and our incarnational living and ministry in the world; it is a unique event of a unique person, of which we have been made witnesses rather than co-agents. Neither as a sum total of born-again Christians nor as a historical institution with a postal address is the church the savior; it is always the sinful body that is saved. The church does not testify to its own holiness or zeal but to Christ, who “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5).”

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