No Christ — no church

Recently HBO presented a documentary on the Church of Scientology titled "Going Clear." The documentary is based on a book by the same name that explores the beliefs and tenets of the Church of Scientology. Former members of the Church of Scientology related some of their devastating experiences with the organization and exposed some of their peculiar practices and beliefs. Among these beliefs and practices, there is no mention of Christ. It must be noted that the Church of Scientology is not the only entity that titles itself as a church without Christ. Is this a legitimate use of the term "church"? It depends on the perspective.

Church 101

In the Christian church the relationship between Christ and the church is likened to a marriage. In Scripture Christ is referred to as the bridegroom, and the church—the body of Christ—is referred to as the bride of Christ. The relationship is one of commitment and great sacrificial love, as is marriage. Christ sacrificed his life, dying an agonizing death on the cross so that all may become a part of his body, his church. The body of Christ then gives its life in service to and for Christ. The Christian church exists only within its relationship to Christ. We therefore perceive no legitimate church apart from the Christ who died for the church and built its foundation on himself. The first verse of “The Church’s One Foundation” (The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 545) states it most eloquently:

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.
— Words by Samuel J. Stone, 1866

Question of the day: Can there be authentic church without Christ?
Focal Scriptures: Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Matthew 28:18-20

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

comments powered by Disqus