You may have heard that question asked by someone unfamiliar with the Lord’s church. What is distinctive about the church for which Jesus died, and of which He is the head? Some years ago, M. Norvel Young, former president and chancellor emeritus of Pepperdine University, wrote an essay describing the church that belongs to Christ in this way: “The church of Christ is not an exclusive or proud church. You will find it very simple. Its aim is not to amuse or entertain those who attend its services. It exists in our community as a simple body of Christians, pointing all who look its way to Jesus Christ as God’s only Son, the hope of the world. Its doors are open to those who from the quiet depths of their hearts reach out to God in simple worship and obedient living. You may be surprised to find that there is not much ready-made for you in this church. There is no ready-made creed. You take the Word of God as you read it and come to a true understanding of it. There are no ready-made prayers. Every believer voices his own earnest longing for the presence of God and for His sustenance and guidance. There is no ready-made order of worship. Each church of our Lord arranges its own order in harmony with the items described in the New Testament. There is no ready-made music. Everyone makes his own music by the fruit of his lips as the early Christians did, and it is sweet in the ears of God in proportion to the worshipers’ sincerity and humble obedience to God.”
Isn’t that a marvelous way to describe the church? Those looking for architectural magnificence of a particular physical structure, or emotional manifestations in spine-tingling presentations, may be disappointed. But if you’re seeking salvation from the One who can give it, this is the real thing.
More will come from brother Young’s descriptions of the body of Christ in future posts.