27 August 2008

Christ Builds His Church

A little something that will appear in my congregation's September newsletter and just happens to speak quite well to the current and quite predominant (sadly so) views of "growing churches" and "mission work" in the LCMS:

Christ Builds

After Peter confessed Christ to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), our Lord Jesus gave this great promise: “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Of course, Jesus was referring to “the rock” (petros) of Peter’s confession.

Note what Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer said about Christ building His Church:

“It is not we who build. [Christ] builds the church. No man builds the church but Christ alone. Whoever is minded to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it; for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess—He builds. We must proclaim—He builds. We must pray to Him—that He may build.

“We do not know His plan. We cannot see whether His is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are times of collapse are for Him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point of view are great times for the church are times when it is pulled down.

“It is a great comfort which Christ gives to His Church: you confess, preach, bear witness to Me and I alone will build where it pleases Me. Do not meddle in what is My province. Do what is given to you to do well and you have done enough. But do it well. Pay no heed to views and opinions. Don’t ask for judgments. Don’t always be calculating what will happen. Don’t always be on the lookout for another refuge! Church, stay a church! But church, confess, confess, confess! Christ alone is your Lord; from His grace alone can you live as you are. Christ builds” (Life Together).


wrmyers said...

Needed words for reflection, Thanks! (sorry about the exclamation point TW!)

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Randy, Good stuff! Bonhoeffer is one of those authors that I doubt anyone can read and seperate his words from his context.

Interestingly, I attended the theological college in England where Bonhoeffer did some "first-hand" living together to research his book.

Randy Asburry said...

"'first hand' living together"?

I hope that's an ecclesiastical kind of "living together," as his book describes, and not, well, what happens all too often before the commitment to marriage in our culture. :-)

revmlk said...

Great words....now, where did you find that picture?? Very cool.

Randy Asburry said...

That image comes from the CD called "Clip Art for the Liturgical Year." For more information, check out this link: http://www.litpress.org/Detail.aspx?ISBN=081462426X

Bryce P Wandrey said...

Umm...no. I meant residing with monks at their monastery in Oxford (the Cowley Fathers).

Randy Asburry said...

Actually, Bryce, I was guessing that--just didn't know the details. I was just being a smart aleck in my earlier comment.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

I figured as much but just thought I would fill in the blank.