In Focus

‘Three pillars of the Church’

MunnRichard_insThe Church is variously depicted in Scripture as a body, a temple, a household, and a vine. Each image highlights a particular facet of the ekklesia, the “called out ones,” described by Archbishop William Temple as “the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.”

While there are many ecclesiological models, three classic pillars are near and dear to Salvationists and are universally recognized:

Euangelion – “Evangelism” is proclaiming Jesus Christ as God and Savior and persuading people to become His followers and members of His Church. It is the essence of the Gospel and the lifeblood of the Church.

Didache – “Teaching” is a vital ministry of the Church as people move from spiritual “milk” to spiritual “meat” and from childhood to adulthood. This involves growth in the subtle matters of faith and includes the Church’s unmatched ministry of educating people across the world and throughout the centuries.

Diakonia – “Service” includes both outward actions towards others and an inner attitude of spirit. Countless acts of kindness and creative expressions of charity towards people are a much–loved hallmark of Christianity.

Of course, Jesus, who is described as “teaching, preaching, and healing, models these strong graces.” (LK 9:35)

Former General John Gowans got it right on—“Save souls, grow saints, serve suffering humanity.”

How sturdy are the pillars in your corps?

by Colonel Richard Munn

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