Thursday, March 23, 2006

The building of God

The apostle Peter seems to have had a fascination with the idea that the church was made up of living stones in a temple in which Jesus Christ was the "chief corner stone" (cf. 1 Pet. 1:4-8). Little wonder! Jesus had called him "Rocky!" (Matt. 16:18). This passage has occasioned not a little controversy as Protestants tried to undo Roman Catholic claims that Jesus' words at Caesarea Philippi implied that Peter was the first Roman Pontiff! This, of course, is palpable nonsense. But Jesus did intend this remark to imply something about Peter--the Peter who had just confessed Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God" and folk who similarly profess such a creed." The church is built out of individuals who confess Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.

As I watched yesterday First Presbyterian Church "meeting house" [I deliberately employ the old puritan term for the building where God's people (the church!) gather for public worship] come together, I was reminded of just how central this corporate idea of "gathering" is to the New Testament. In our age when individualism and para-church movements {not to mention the Emergent Church phenomenon] is rampant, we need to remind ourselves of the fundamental importance of the doctrine of the church. This is what the Bible teaches, I believe. It is what the magisterial Reformers taught--to a man. And to the degree we lose sight of it, we stunt the power and effectiveness of the witness of Christ's redemptive work in the world today.

Corporately we (the people of God at First Presbyterian) should match the beauty of this building that is visibly growing before our very eyes. It is all so very exciting, don't you think?

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