Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, JJ Seid and Sam Storms as they continue their new series on the Church. This is a topic hotly debated today. What really does it take to be a church? Can three people meet at a coffee shop and call themselves a church? Do churches need to have elders? What about an online church?

There are so many questions being asked today about the Church in the 21st century. This series seeks to dive into the prominent issues of Ecclesiology (the study of the Church).

Theology Unplugged: Video Edition is available for the first time to Credo House Members. You can now listen AND WATCH as Michael, Tim, Sam and JJ dive into issues of theology. Grow in your faith, learn theology, and have a good time. Try Membership risk free! If you don’t love it as much as us you can cancel at any time


    3 replies to "Theology Unplugged: Church (Part 3) – What Makes a Local Church?"

    • Vladimir

      Online church? Sound weird for me. I prefer traditional churches

    • Irene

      As you mentioned at the end of the podcast, you were not able to finish the discussion here and need to continue it later. And, yes, there was much good discussion, but it was kind of crazy that no one could commit to a consistent answer. (Should the church’s own self-definition really be this mysterious?!)

      I think the reason this is such a difficult question is that it’s like a catch-22 for you. The criteria you use to define yourself as a church (Protestant/Ev churches, not Credo House), such as
      -preaching of the Gospel
      -non opposition to sacraments
      -church discipline
      also work to define these other groups as churches that you just know in your gut are not churches. You know that groups can’t just call themselves churches because they want to; calling yourself a church doesn’t make you a church. But you can’t put your finger on additional criteria, because then you start to also declassify Protestant/Ev churches as churches.

      You’re tiptoeing around an answer because you have to make sure you don’t “undefine” yourself as a church.


      On a different topic, church discipline, (and maybe you will be getting to this later), from where does a church get its authority to impose church discipline? If a church could conceivably be started by anyone who loves Jesus, doesn’t that mean that any Christian could have legitimate authority over other Christians just by claiming it?

      Is a church like a democracy, in that its authority derives from the consent of the governed?


      I hope you cover later:

      Did Jesus “invent” the Church? Is the Church the New Israel?

      Is the Church the Kingdom of God?

    • Irene

      Hey, JJ, I think you and Pope Francis would have a lot in common concerning evangelization as a primary characteristic of the Church. (:

      From a recent talk:
      “Aparecida,” [a particular conference] he said, “proposes to put the Church in a permanent state of mission… And this, in the certainty that missionary outreach, more than being one activity among others, is a paradigm, that is, the paradigm for all pastoral action.”

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