I suspect that it is the failure of evangelical people, particularly during the last sixty to seventy years, to take seriously the biblical teaching concerning the nature of the Church, that accounts for most of the problems that we are confronting at the present time. For some reason or another, our immediate fathers and grandfathers felt that it was sufficient to form movements and they did not think in terms of the Church, with the result that evangelical witness is diluted among the great denominations and evangelical Christian people only meet together in movements instead of in Churches. So from that standpoint this is a highly important subject. If we have a deep concern about the evangelical message and its vital importance in the world today, then we are compelled to consider the doctrine of the Church.
Now as we approach the biblical teaching concerning the nature of the Church, let me also make my usual introductory remark. This is a highly controversial subject—practically all of the doctrines have been so, have they not? But history alone assures us that this is perhaps the most controversial of all. And yet it is sheer cowardice to avoid dealing with a subject simply because it is controversial. Whatever our upbringing or background, whatever our prejudices, we must endeavour to consider, with as open a mind as possible, what the Scriptures have to tell us. Let us all try to do that, praying that God will deliver us from the prejudices from which we all tend to suffer.*
Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,
*Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1998). The church and the last things (3). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.