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The “true” church February 27, 2007

Posted by Cobus in church, Emerging Church, Missional, theology.

Luther said that the marks of the true church is :

  • correct preaching of the Word
  • the right use of sacraments

When last have you used these markers to check if a church is “true”? When last have you identified a church as “untrue” because they used the sacraments differently than you are used to? When last have you identified a church as “untrue” because of incorrect preaching of the Word? OK, I’ll admit, this happens quite often for some, but for others this might really sound weird. Well, I guess for a lot of you the whole idea of marking churches as “true” or “untrue” is a bit weird, maybe you never even thought of it. But, there you have it, some people do.

At this point I need to first mention someone. Her name is Maryke Redelinghuys, and we have been together for about 4 years now. You won’t ever find her commenting, and if it were up to her you won’t know about her. But a few hours of a day or so after I write any post, it gets edited, and my spelling and grammar mistakes get corrected. Every time I log on I just see that the last post was edited. More than that, for more than 4 years now she has been challenging me, pushing me further, keeping me accountable, telling me when something I’ve done “wasn’t so nice”, and she is usually right. I mention her, because it was while I tried to answer one of her questions this afternoon, that I was forced to think a little more about this.

I do think what Luther said still has a lot to say for us today. I think we need to make more of our sacraments and preaching, but I’m not sure if the is the words to describe what constitutes the church.

What about something like this. We are not talking about marks of the true church, but rather what constitutes the church, what make the church church? What make this congregation church?

  • I’ll say it’s where Christ’s mission to the world is extended, help bring God’s Kingdom about
  • It’s where those regarding themselves as followers of Jesus Christ love each other, really care for each other

Maybe it still need something about loving God, but I don’t have the right words at the moment.


1. saintsophia - February 27, 2007

Thanks for bringing up such important questions. I like what you said about one of the marks of the true church being that followers of Christ truly love and care for each other. I also emphasize continuity of teaching and practice with that of the early church.

2. Annemarie - February 27, 2007

Can’t we see the church as a place for non-Christian to get to know God and His love? Should’nt we as Christians invite friends (relatives) that aren’t believers to the church. Not force them, invite them. And maybe in the process bring them closer to God.

Isn’t loving God really what the church is about? Loving him above all. If the church is more focused on God and less focused on material things, like money (not that money isn’t important, it is needed but not more than God), then I think it’s a “true” church.

Our pastor (F. Redelinghuys) compared the church and it’s uses to an ossewa wiel. Right in the centre is God. The spikes where made up of acts like baptism and the communion (Nagmaal) and al the other uses in the church that are close to God. And that’s how it should be. God centered in everything we do.

Hope it makes sence.

Dutch Uncle - May 23, 2014

Estimates of Christian denominations range from 34,000 to 43,000, depending upon whom you ask. My parents are reborn Christians but belong to a church that does not even have full peace with its own sister churches and also cannot worship as one with its own affiliated denominations that are based upon racial differences. As it is in heaven……..

This is in stark contrast with the prayer of Jesus, it is in stark contrast with the early “church of Acts.” I have found little love on the church and left it after a period of time. I now live with my wife and son in a communal house shared with all sorts of people, where we show Love to others and most of these people are animist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age, etc. We were asked to leave our church cell group because we “had too much faith.” Rejected by Christians altogether, we go as His messengers unsupported by anyone except for total unbelievers who sometimes bless us with basic needs.

Just recently yet again rejected by close relatives because of a step we had taken in Faith. If Christians are like this, does the world need more?

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