Monday, February 25, 2013

The Church’s Mission

By Darwin Hunter
    One constant danger facing the church is a misunderstanding of the church’s role in the world.  When its high and holy purposes are jettisoned for low and worldly purposes, the church loses its direction and its divine blessings.
    The church is God’s institution - not man’s.  It was envisioned by God before the world began, and functions in accordance with God’s eternal purpose for the salvation of the world (Eph. 3:10-11).  It is not human in origin.  Jesus Himself, the God-Man sent into the world by the Father to act as Savior, promised to build the church (Matt. 16:18).  Since this is true, no man has the right to subvert the church by altering its mission, or changing its function and worship.
    Yet, this has been done throughout the history of man.  Men have changed the church into religious organizations subjected to the ecclesiastical councils of men, and humanly-devised creeds.  They have replaced the worship planned by God with that which appeals to the worldly-minded.  Instrumental music was substituted for vocal praise (Eph. 5:19), robed clergy for humble “ministers through whom you believed” (1 Cor. 3:5), and spiritual joy was supplanted by dance and hand-clapping (Phil. 4:4).
    In addition, the mission of the church was changed.  The church is in the soul-saving business.  Its mission is plainly stated by the One who has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20).  Its divinely-given mission is to preach the Gospel, the saving message of Christ (Rom. 1:16).  It is to bring men to faith, repentance, and baptism (Acts 2:38), and to teach the converted all aspects of Christ’s doctrine to commit them to holy living (1 Pet. 1:13-17).
    In many places, these lofty goals have been set aside for lesser goals.  To far too many, the church has become a social organization which functions along the lines of local civic clubs.  It builds gymnasiums, bowling alleys, restaurants, and coffee houses for socializing and does little or no Bible teaching.  “Going to church” has become nothing more enriching than attending a music concert to “get happy.”  It is time that the church return to its roots: “Preach the Word...reprove, rebuke, exhort” (2 Tim. 4:2).  The mission of the church is to teach that which saves - the Gospel (Rom. 1:16).  God’s plan for the church is that it be “the pillar and ground of the truth” and to “speak the truth in love” (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 4:15).  Nothing humans can devise can improve on God’s design for the church.  Its lofty mission must never be thought of as “out of date” or “out of touch” with modern man.  In fact, the only thing that can touch man’s soul is the Gospel!

- Darwin Hunter; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at

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