What is the distinction between invisible and invisible? What is the significance that Christ has given his church these things? What is meant by: a) ministry, b) oracles, and c) ordinances? What dual purpose has Christ given these things for? How doe these things gather the saints? How do they perfect? What encouragement can you offer from this paragraph? Tune in as Nathan, Shawn, Joel, and Kyle discuss WCF 25.3:
Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
3 thoughts on “Episode 25.3: Gathering and Perfecting”
Thanks for sharing. In this episode (25.2) my understanding from what I discerned is that you are not advocating the Lord’s use of parachurch ministries for the spread of the Gospel? The parachurch organization I am a member of includes both elders and deacons who are of the visible church that lead folks to visabke local churches for worship to hear solid preaching/teaching and encounter discipleship. Thanks for clarifying as I possibly miss heard you.
Speaking for my fellow co-hosts, I don’t think any of us would advocate that the Lord doesn’t *use* parachurch ministries. The Lord has a lot of resources he uses for the good of the gospel. However helpful a parachurch is, though, it’s not a necessary entity/organization/institution, nor is it essential to the continuing work of Jesus.
That’s not intended to devalue what an organization may offer it’s only intended to put it in the right place. My experience with parachurch organizations includes things like Christian camping, campus outreach, and Christian publishing (and food and clothing shelters). I think those things have done and offered a lot of good. But none are essential to the work of Jesus. That’s because, for instance, Jesus didn’t establish our Christian camp, he hasn’t made promises to our campus outreach, and he hasn’t committed and entrusted the “ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God” to our publishing company. But he has done all of that with his visible church. If every parachurch on planet earth disappeared we’d lose a lot of helpful benefits. If the visible church on planet earth disappeared Jesus’ promise would fail.
A properly functioning parachurch organization can act as a promoter of the place and work of the visible church, but can never replace it or even supplement it. Again, that’s not to devalue their work. The labors of united Christians can be extremely valuable on their own without having to baptize it in language of “necessary and essential.” I hope that clarifies it. If not, I’ll try again! 🙂 -kyle
Thanks Kyle for your prompt reply in speaking for you’re fellow pastor friend co-hosts also in clarifying.
Reflecting on what you shared this is not just a perspective from one with pastoral experience but more importantly is straight from Scripture. I realize the bible does not speak of parachurch ministries however useful some may be. The particular parachurch ministry I’m involved with has grown to have a particular focus on reaching students among others with God’s word. Prayer was removed from schools in 1962 and the 10 Commandment in 1980. As a result there are multiple generations without knowledge of Scripture that are unchurched. Both in cities and rural areas. Far more are outside the local church than within it and not sitting under sound preaching. Certainly not a revelation to anyone leading the Jerusalem Chamber but just a friendly reminder. 😁
Most pastors are understandably focused on the good work of sermon preparation, counseling, teaching, and visiting the sick. I wonder if outreach and evangelism are sometimes not occurring as a result. This may be the case for introverted reader types though trust the Lord works in a unified way through both extroverts and introverts in great ways. Certain parachurch ministries can assist in this regard though I trust were not meant to replace what the Lord has established in and through local churches.
Before starting seminary a friend lent me a book on speed reading but I couldn’t read it fast enough. 🙄 While true it puts into perspective the value of this podcast from those that are well read sharing insights and book recommendations with many who may not be. Am thankful for this podcast’s explanation of the Westminster Confessions. Great ongoing team effort. God bless.