I teach a seminary course called Believers’ Church Theology. Someone recently asked me what my 30-second elevator speech was to describe what I mean by ‘believers’ church.’ Here’s what I said:
Believers’ Church ecclesiology (i.e., what Christians believe about church) is based on the idea that the church community is comprised completely and solely of a body of believers who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ (cf. the parable of the wheat and the tares from Matthew chapter 13), made new and distinctly different from the world.
Believers are incorporated into the community of faith based on their confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and the visible evidence being like Jesus in their lives. Believers in the community model interdependence through mutual support and discipline, pursue godliness based on the example of Jesus Christ, and live Christ’s mission in the world through gospel witness and godly service.
Why do I believe and teach this? Because I think this represents what the New Testament teaches us church is supposed to be about. And because the goal of living together as Christians is to be like Jesus and to help others do the same – – individually and collectively.
It’s not as complicated as we sometimes make it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.