I am a Bibliophile. I love books. I collect books. Sometimes I collect more than I should….at least that’s what my wife thinks. I just love learning. I am also a Bible nerd. I love learning about the Bible. One of the things I do in my office at the church is organize, sort, and catalogue my books. I know…Nerd Alert!!
When I sort my books I notice things. I notice what I have a lot of. I notice what I have less of. I notice what I have none of. Some of this is just observation. Some of this scares me. Is that all I have on Eschatology? Shouldn’t I have more books on Genesis or Exodus? Shouldn’t I have more on the Trinity?
One thing I noticed recently is how much I have on Ecclesiology. Ecclesiology is the study of the Church. Not all of the books in this category are technically Ecclesiology, but I have categorized some things under Ecclesiology that I think belong there. I included things like Pastoral theology and Christian Ethics. I included political theology and contemporary issues.
No matter how you count it, I have way too much in Ecclesiology. I have more in Ecclesiology than I have about the Trinity. I have more in Ecclesiology than I have about the attributes of God or Christology. I say this in shame.
I have a scary hunch that my bookshelf is reflective of a larger problem. I worry that we have focused too much on the Church. Too much on political theology and contemporary issues. This is not to say that these things are not important. Some churches I know have completely failed to address contemporary issues at all. Some churches I know are too politically neutral.
Notice also that the things I listed taking up shelf space under Ecclesiology are not things from the Nicene Creed. These are not books detailing how the church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” These are books dealing with contemporary issues and debates. I worry that, as a professor of mine used to say, these contemporary issues are really just “temporary issues.”
The Church is NOT the focus of the Christian faith. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Himself, and the Holy Spirit are the focus of the Christian faith. Nonetheless, I think we need to recover a healthier and more biblically robust doctrine of the Church. A doctrine of the Church that de-centers the Church and puts the focus back on God. I think the best way to do this is to focus on the classical doctrines of the Church. I am going to write a series of blog posts attempting to articulate the doctrine of the Church in the language of the Nicene Creed and by the authority of the Bible.
I’d love for you to join me on this journey. Here is the roadmap ahead of us:
Part 6: Kingdom and Mission
Part 7: Preaching
Part 8: Baptism
Part 9: Eucharist
Part 10: Kingdom and Mission
Part 11: Conclusion
[I will comeback to this article and update it with links to the other articles in the series as I complete them.]