The Function and Future of the Church



Bible is God's Word

Bible contains God's Word

Sin in individual by heredity

Social structures­sin in envirnment

Evangelism­proclamation of Gospel

Social action to correct evils



Vertical­relate to God by Faith

Horizontal­love to man

Salvation of eternal soul

Service for temporal physical well-being

Saved to serve

Saved in and by service

Church, Christ's bride

Kingdom on earth by mans efforts



Individual salvation

Corporate salvation

Amillennial or premillennial


Cataclysmic supernatural end to age

Church will cleanse world of racism, war, injustice, and inequality

God is transcendent

God is immanent

Transform individual by new birth

Transform society by education and legislation

Stress theology

Stress social sciences

Other-world orientation

This-worldly orientation

Indirect social action by individuals

Direct social action by church

Christ centered

Man centered

Spiritual conviction

Social conscience

Proximate solution to man's problems in time, final beyond history

Final solutions in history often socialistic or Marxian

Millennium (Eden regained)

Utopian order


Reforms or revolution

The truth lies not in "either/or" but in both/and." The task of the church is first evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) to relate persons vertically to God by faith. These persons will then show love in actions in society as they live and serve until their hope of Christ's second coming becomes fact (Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:11-12; Titus 3:8).

From Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, 1996, Zondervan, p. 464.

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