Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Call yourself a Christian?

Mark Dever in What is a healthy church:

Sometimes college campus ministries will ask me to speak to their students. I’ve been known, on several occasions, to begin my remarks this way: “If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell.”

You could say that it gets their attention. Now, am I just going for shock value? I don’t think so. Am I trying to scare them into church membership? Not really. Am I saying that joining a church makes someone a Christian? Certainly not! Throw any book (or speaker) out the window that says as much.

So why would I begin with this kind of warning? It’s because I want them to see something of the urgency of the need for a healthy local church in the Christian’s life and to begin sharing the passion for the church that characterizes both Christ and his followers.... More here
Jonathan Edwards would of course note that being a church member is no proof of being a Christian... that takes genuine religious affections. But, nonetheless Dever is right - I can't have confidence when I say I'm a Christian if I've no love for the local church.