Thursday, February 01, 2007

'Local' means a location, not a denomination

One of the doctrines I am currently questioning is the idea of "local"
church. I understand that people were bound by their *location* to a certain
group in the New Testament, however I'm not sure they would be bound to one
certain church or denomination. I don't see the same level of exclusion
between churches in the NT as we see today. Where in the Bible does it say
we can only be members of one church at a time? The question arises "Which
church was Paul a member of?" If Paul could work and "fellowship" with
everyone from Jew to Gentile believer, Asian or European, Corinthian to
Laodecian then why can't we? Why have we created a doctrine of the "local
church" which keeps us from fellowshipping with other believers in our

Perhaps it's the stark contrast and lack of churches in countries like
Pakistan that makes us realize how petty we can be. This weekend I will be
travelling with Matt & Ruth to Ruth's father's church which is 4 hours
away!! These people are travelling 4 hours to meet with other believers and
we in the West can't get along with people at the church down the road
because they worship a little different than us? What a joke! Will heaven
not be an eclectic mix of all believers? If we really believed in the
doctrine of the 'local church' maybe we should decide to only have one
church in each city. After that one 'local' church was established we'd move
on to the next place, instead of ammassing churches of different kinds on
every corner. That way countries like Pakistan wouldn't be neglected as
terribly as they have been while we fight for the scraps that fall from the
denominational table. Could you imagine if all the churches in your
city/town actually worked together for the furtherance of the gospel,
instead of the propogation of their own denomination/doctrines?
Hmm....Wow....that's actually exciting to think for a minute of the
potential if Pentecostal, Brethren, Methodist, Baptist, Alliance,
Presbyterian, etc. all worked together to reach out, instead of against each
other. Hopefully none of us *want* to wait until heaven to experience
this...cause in heaven we will all be why can't we get along
now??? :)

Please pray as we travel to the church. We will be in packed out buses,
rickshaws, taxis and who knows what else. I'll be preaching on Sunday. I
think it's actually an Anglican church. Aren't I a heretic. Someone asked
Matt once if there was an "assembly" in the area. He replied that the
closest assembly is 8-10 hours away. Countries like Pakistan kind of stretch
our thinking a bit, eh?

Also, I've uploaded a few more videos - Matt & Ruth's little Joseph walking
through town, Matt teaching and a wild ride on the back of a rickshaw!

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