Universal and Local: Thoughts on Radmacher

Thoughts on:
WHAT THE CHURCH IS ALL ABOUT:
A biblical and historical study
by Earl D. Radmacher
Chicago: Moody Press, 1972, 1978
441 pages

In this book , Radmacher gives an intriguing metaphor for the relationship between the universal and local aspects of church: the moon. Most days in the month, we see but a portion of the moon, yet we understand it to be the moon, not some tiny bit floating around in space. The local church is like that. In the local church we see a bit of the whole, yet we understand that what we see is the church, not some random bit flying around in space…

I will be working on the final post for Radmacher as I drink iced tea and relax on the porch in Lake Arrowhead this coming week.

One of the things I will be considering is the implications of Radmacher for the ABC-USA/ABC-PSW separation: What constitutes true unity? True division?

About Laura

My name is Laura and I am on a journey, pondering the implications of God's glorious design of humanity and integrating every aspects of this design into a description of whole life health.
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5 Responses to Universal and Local: Thoughts on Radmacher

  1. Andrew B says:

    Laura,

    A while ago I followed a link to a comment made by ‘made to praise him’ Mark and found the following at http://christianstogether.blogspot.com/2006/05/church-in-city-and-response.html

    “When the Lord looks down from heaven into a major metropolitan area, does he see only Baptist churches? Does he see only Spirit-filled churches? Does he see only churches inside buildings? What does he see? The answer is—he sees the whole church at once, all of it, every flavor and variety and style you can imagine. They are all his people, everyone who names the name of the Lord and has been redeemed by the blood of his Son. If you’re saved, you’d better learn to love your brothers and sisters, even those of different races or liturgies, since we’ll all going to spend eternity together! And if you’re following the pattern of the apostles and prophets settled in the Bible and affirmed in church history, you’d better start believing in the legitimate church as it really is: congregations plus a myriad of small house groups and the whole network of all the saints in your city.”

    This image kind of stuck with me in my own ruminations about how to be church. I used it as the basis for the following prayer for the church in our Sunday gathering:

    “Help us to see the church as you see it. The Baptist churches, the Anglican churches, the Pentecostal churches, the Reformed churches, the Catholic churches, the charismatic churches, the post-modern churches, the emerging churches, the youth churches; the churches meeting in buildings, those meeting in houses, those without a fixed place to meet, those who meet under a tree; the persecuted churches, the rich, the poor, the dying churches and the growing churches.

    The whole church at once, all of it, every flavour, tradition, variety and style – they are all your people, everyone who names the name of the Lord and has been redeemed by the blood of his Son Jesus.

    We are all your people, Lord God.

    We pray for the unity of your people under the Lord Jesus and in the power of the Spirit.”

  2. carl says:

    Do you want me to blast this author so he can comment on your blog also?

  3. Laura says:

    hey, give it a whirl…who knows.

    I liked the book, but would like to read it again later–with a more critical eye. For one, he is a tad too dispensational for me. (I’m dispensational, but more in the progressive camp; though, I’ve not read enough to be sure.)

  4. carl says:

    I was just kidding, however,
    You said
    One of the things I will be considering is the implications of Radmacher for the ABC-USA/ABC-PSW separation: What constitutes true unity? True division?

    I think this is an interesting question. While you can acknowledge that they are in the faith (since it is faith in Jesus that saves, not faith in the infalibility of Scripture) we are both in the Church but that does not mean that we want to hear the same message on Sunday morning.

    Have they deprated from the faith? Maybe not. Are they more suseptable to now? They have already started on that path. It is almost as if they themselves say “Did God really say . . .” (that’s really good. I will most definately preach that.)

    Most interesting.

  5. Laura says:

    Those who remain with the ABC-USA are a “mixed company” just like those who left with the ABC-PSW. I do believe they have departed from a key portion of the content of the faith, for they do not hold to the authority of Scripture–has God really said…

    On the other hand, God knows the heart and I am not willing to come to any conclusions about the membership in the church. Such decisions are for God and God alone. For our part, though, we should be diligent and strive to bring each congregation as close to God’s intent as possible. As for the ABC-USA/ABC-PSW decision, I stand with ABC-PSW because I do not see how one can place organization unity above Scripture and remain a church according to God’s intent. This is why I uphold our decision to leave the denomination (after more than a decade of striving in vain for organizational and doctrinal unity).

    (I was kidding about Radmacher too…)

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