A commitment to the great commission (Mt. 28:19-20) demands a “high view” of the church—that the church is absolutely essential.
It is not a Body of Christ; it is the Body of Christ.
Not just a bride, but the bride of Christ.
The church is held to be the central part of God’s plan for the salvation and discipling of people and nations.
New converts must not only believe in Jesus Christ but must become responsible members of the church. If the Bible is to be taken seriously, we cannot hold any other point of view.
Becoming a Christian means becoming a part of the Body. In fact, unless non-Christians believe and become part of the church, personified through the local congregation, the ultimate value of our “missional” activities must be questioned.
This is the high view of the church. A low view of the church is that whether or not you belong to the church is more or less a matter of choice.
If you like it, you belong; if you don’t, you don’t.
As we lead our congregations forward in a recommitment to focusing beyond the walls of our churches, I hope we will keep a balanced notion of Christ’s ultimate objective, and thus ours: to seek and to save those who are lost (Lk. 19:10) and to be an instrument of Christ in building His church (Mt. 16:18).