Why the Church Is More Important than Any Other Christian Organization

The Only Eternal Institution

Everything depends on your definition of local church. If you simply think—not very accurately, but understandably—about the church as a group of Christians or something like this, then of course these other things are groups of Christians as well. It would be hard to make a distinction.

But if church takes on some of the overtones that are invested in the New Testament treatment of church, then the reason why the local church is more important is because Jesus said that he would build his church. He didn’t say that he would build his publishing company or his Gospel Coalition.

The Gospel and the Modern World

D. A. Carson, Brian J. Tabb

The Gospel and the Modern World brings together more than 30 of D. A. Carson’s essays from the evangelical theological journal Themelios, with contributions from colleagues Brian J. Tabb, Andrew David Naselli, and Collin Hansen.

So everything turns on how seriously we take the treatment of church in the New Testament documents. To put it in another way, the church is the only human institution that goes into eternity. We won’t be building the Gospel Coalition in eternity. We won’t be building seminaries in eternity.

Now, there may be some kinds of loose equivalent. There may be. Who knows? But what Christ promises to build, what he shed his life’s blood for is that Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. That forces us, if we’re to be faithful to Christ, to follow in his train and think in ecclesiastical terms.

D. A. Carson is the author of The Gospel and the Modern World: A Theological Vision for the Church.

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