Church as a Family

29Apr09

As a beginning of a short series of posts here at darnellia, I invite you to think with me about what it means that we as Christians have been adopted by God as sons and daughters in his family. Specifically, I want to explore how this should affect our gatherings. (Here’s a great blog dedicated to the subject, if you’re really interested.)

If Christians are truly brothers and sisters, how should we relate to one another as we gather? If we are to be brothers and sisters to one another, what will this require of us? How will it affect us, our fellow believers, and the broader community?

Here are a few quotes to get us thinking:

On our adoption, Galatians 4:4-7 says,

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

N.T. Wright interprets this and other passages, writing,

The church . . . should function as a family in which every member is accepted as an equal member, no matter what their social cultural or moral background. The very existence of such a community demonstrates to . . . the hidden but powerful forces of prejudice and suspicion, that their time is up, that the living God has indeed won the victory over them, that there is now launched upon the world a different way of being human . . .

Clearly, the existence and flourishing of such a community is the thing that is going to reveal to the pagan world that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what it claims to be (What Saint Paul Really Said, 146).

Over the next few posts, I hope to look at the biblical metaphor of church as family and then examine ways that we as individuals can promote such relationships in our churches.

But don’t let me be the only voice, brother or sister. What are your initial thoughts? Should the church be like a family? Why or why not? And what would that look like?

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