Minister's Message

"What Is a New Testament Church? Part 5"

Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 9:15


Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In last week’s Message from the Minister, I mentioned some principles, while suggesting the application of these principles to church policy and practice. This week I’d like to conclude with a discussion regarding the truth that a New Testament church is one that expresses the life of Christ in a tangible way.


Someone once attended what was described as a New Testament meeting of the church. In terms of its form and structure it would commonly be known as a New Testament church. However, when this person left the assembly, he remarked, “I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t what turned the world upside down,” (See Acts 17:6.)


What this individual observed is a very significant point, which is simply this: You can have all the forms of a New Testament church and be absolutely lifeless and useless. This is why this characteristic of a New Testament church is so vital: The truly New Testament church is one that not only maintains the forms of New Testament ecclesiology (church doctrine and practice,) but also continue the function of the New Testament church. I would like to suggest that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the standard for evaluation, (Eph. 4:12-14.)


The church is frequently referred to as the “body of Christ,” (1 Cor. 12:12ff.) This is no mere metaphor. It is a wonderful reality. When the writer of the book of Acts, Dr. Luke, introduced this book to Theophilus, he referred to his first work, the gospel of Luke, as recording “all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” (Acts 1:1.) The inference to me is crystal clear. All that Jesus began to do and to teach the church, His body, continued (not only in Acts, but today!) to do and to teach. The function of the church in its most simplistic form is to continue to live out the life of Christ in the world. No church lives up to its New Testament standard unless it is evident that Christ is alive and well on planet earth so to speak. We are to bring to the world the good news of the gospel, we are to teach and train as did our Lord, we are to minister to the physical and material needs of both saved and lost men and women. We are to worship the Father “in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:24) and bring honor and glory to His name.


What then, is a New Testament church? It is a church that looks to the inspired Word of God, not only for its doctrines as they relate to the individual in his or her relationship with God, but also for the principles by which the church is to be governed and carry on its task in the world. Beyond this, the New Testament church is the church which lives out the life of our Lord Jesus Christ through its various members who make up the body.


As the University church of Christ, is it our aim and purpose to be the New Testament church that “…turn[s] the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6)! May we continue to strive to attain “the fullness of the stature of Christ,” (Eph. 4:13.) May God continue to bless us to grow as a church of Christ that has life, vitality, ministry, outreach and vision. And may we be a church that is not puffed up with pride, but serving God with great humility of spirit.


Continue to remember our Mission and Vision statement, we are: "A New Testament church seeking to evangelize, starting with the central core of Greater Cleveland. We will use our unique gifts and opportunities to engage with the community to bring souls to Jesus, develop and equip them for a 21st century ministry." And always remember that God loves you, Jesus died for you, I love you, and I am your servant for Jesus' sake!


Yours because of Calvary,

Terrance R. McClain, PhD