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The Word of God alone Governs the Behavior of the Church

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series

"Christ the Sanctifier of Behavior"

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The fifth principle derived from the fact that culture is behavior is that  the Word of God alone governs the behavior of the church as an institution. The danger VanDrunen expressed regarding describing behaviors in the civic sphere as “Christian” is that when everything becomes Christian, nothing is Christian. In this concern he is right, especially in evaluating the transformationalists’ ecclesiology. For the transformationalist, there is essentially no difference between what happens in the church as an institution and what a Christian does. This is especially true for the missional church movement. Seeking to escape “ecclesiocentrism,” missional advocates subsume the mission of the church under the missio Dei, and thus the mission of the church and the mission of individual Christian are the same.

Yet the biblical picture is different. The NT refers to the behavior of the church as an institution distinct from, although certainly related to that of an individual Christian. For example, Paul writes to Timothy so that he “may know how to behave (ἀναστρέφεσθαι) in the in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). Behavior within the household of God is to be governed by express prescriptions from the Word of God alone. The individual Christian’s life, on the other hand, while certainly guided by scripture and affected by biblical values, nevertheless operates more broadly. This in itself demonstrates a distinction between the government of the church and the civic government.

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About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.