“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46-47
I’m asking a question. An article I read this morning in a popular outreach website didn’t ask the question, but made it a statement and seemed to be promoting a ‘church’ called “Inversion Community Church” As the article explained the church challenges “this idea that you have to believe before you belong,” he (the Pastor) says. “You can actually belong before you believe. That’s what we’re doing.”
I visited the website and Facebook page of the church to learn more about it, but I’m intentionally not going there in this post. If you are interested, you can easily find both from the source article link at the bottom of this post.I’m just asking questions. What it really comes down to is the definition of a ‘church.
“The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people. It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a building. Romans 16:5 says “… greet the church that is in their house.” Paul refers to the church in their house—not a church building, but a body of believers.” (GotQuestions.org). Other good sources also define church the same way, focusing on the fact that the church is not a ‘building’ but a ‘’body of believers.
While it might be permitted to belong to an organization calling itself a church, is it possible to ‘belong’ to the body of ‘called-out believers’ if one has not yet believed? It sounds like a ridiculous question, does it not? The terms ‘counterintuitive’ and ‘oxymoron’ come to mind.
So WHY even consider such a concept as ‘belonging before believing’, much less advertise it? I can think of some reasons, but since they don’t speak well of the idea at all, I’ll keep my big mouth shut. Like I said, I’m just asking the question. I hope others would also consider the question and if necessary.
The last question I have is of the hypothetical variety. IF the idea of belonging to the church before believing isn’t biblical sound, or contradicts the NT definition of ‘church’, what should be our response? My immediate response after reading the article this morning was to ask a few questions via a blog post to get us thinking and maybe searching the scriptures. Perhaps that’s enough for the time being. J
I’d love to hear others’ thoughts concerning the ‘belonging before believing’ paradigm! Do I need a sanity check?