If you have been part of Marg church gatherings, you must have heard the term ‘the local church‘ zap past you in at least a few discussions. If you are like me, you must have wondered – “whuhh, I wonder why do they say ‘local church’ and not just ‘church’?”.
How does it even matter?
There are two ways of defining anything:
Way #1 – How God defines it.
Way #2 – How everyone else defines it.
This is true for the local church too.
My precious brothers and sisters at Marg, other Christians and friends from other faiths could ask you why do you place such importance to your local church community.
You might have an answer ready, but is your response based from the Bible? If it is not, why should any Christ-follower trust what you have to say?
This post is an attempt to equip you with an answer better than – ‘this is what our elder taught us’!
1. Why does Marg teach that the local church is not just a Sunday meeting,but a spiritual family?
Where does Marg get this idea? Take a passage like Eph 2:17-19. After Ephesians 1 and 2 explains the great rescue from sin that God had accomplished in the Ephesian Christians, Paul immediately points them to what God had already made them– the household or family of God.
It seems that, to God who inspired this letter, each person’s salvation makes sense as they are part of a spiritual body, where each part truly obeys God and is concerned for other parts’ welfare.
Someone memorably said – if God is truly your Father, then the local church truly is your real family. But if God is your Father only as a metaphor, only then is the church too, your namesake family.
2. Why does Marg teach that only the local church is God’s instrument of choice, in EVERY culture and generation, for doing any kind of missions?
The reason the church exists, is seen in Ephesians 3:9-11. Apostle Paul explains here that God would make His manifold wisdom known through …that’s right, the church.
Can we then say that God’s plan to glorify himself is through para-church organizations? Or through gifted evangelists and skilled teachers of God’s word?
Gifted people and organizations all must, of course, play a lesser role that helps church communities, not weaken the churches’ work. In Ephesus, the Ephesian church was God’s choice to show His wisdom to non-believers. Do you and I believe that is true of our local churches today?
If you define the local church Biblically, you will also treat her rightly.
Question 1: Do you think these two points have been addressed sufficiently well?
Question 2: Are there other questions about the local church you might want the Marg blog to address?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section, or contact me personally.
You can also refer to the Marg handbook that shows how we plan to fulfill God’s mission where we are placed at.