Do we need New Testament churches today?

von Johannes Justus

Yes, more than ever! The expressions „today“ and „New Testament“ may sound like opposites to many, but still:

More than ever we need churches today that are based on the New Testament’s testimony and at the same time are relevant for the people of the 21st century. I would even go as far as saying: It is not until churches are built on the basis of the New Testament they can offer a significant contribution to today’s challenges. From my point of view a New Testament church is NOT a church of outdated teachings and old-fashioned design. On the contrary: It is up to date, fresh and significant because these are the characteristics of the person represented by the church: Jesus Christ!

Regarding this I would like to emphasize some aspects of three New Testament verses that are dear to my heart.

1.) In Matthew 1:23 Jesus, still unborn, is announced to bear the name “Immanuel” which means “God with us”. What a mighty proclamation! God reveals himself personally to mankind in Jesus Christ and desires to be present among them. He wants to show himself to people. Today he does this particularly in and through his church. Therefore the church is a place where God can be found and where people experience acceptance, grow in self-esteem and receive identity – things which people are increasingly lacking today.

2.) In Colossians 1:18 the church is depicted as a body whose head is Jesus Christ. Just as a body has many different parts the church is composed of many different personalities. That means the church is not primarily an institution, but composed of individuals. It is about people from most diverse backgrounds and nations, who have grown up in various environments, have different talents and are united in an absolutely unique way. In this the church is the perfect counter model for the isolation experienced by many in our society. We need each other. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Together we are strong. These are values for our present time.

3.) John 14:6 is probably the most famous statement of Jesus about himself: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Whereas theologians and philosophers of all times have racked their brains concerning the question of what truth and life really are, Jesus claims for himself to be truth and life in person. In this, truth means so much more than just correctness. There are many correct statements which by far do not always give direction and perspective. But those who have found truth have found direction, freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Above all they have found the true life. The church of Jesus Christ testifies that true life can be found only in him.

In a nutshell: Yes, we do need New Testament churches because we need Jesus. In a church where lordship and headship are really given to Jesus, people of today find love, acceptance, hope, restoration, healing, fellowship, renewal and what is much more: The path to eternal life is opened to them. To me there is nothing greater than to be involved in God’s project called “the church”.

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