Loving one another as an apologetic

 One of our many witnesses to the world is our love for one another. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Our love for one another—the sake of “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25) is not only an important part of our own personal and spiritual need, but is also an embodied apologetic.

In “Embodying Our Faith,” author Tim Morey expresses how he came back to the faith after having left for five years. “Of the things God used in putting me back together, none had as much impact as the amazing community of believers that embraced me.”[1] Morey speaks of how his church, Life Covenant of Torrance, Ca., has embraced the theological essence of community through Christ; that God existed from eternity past in communal relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and that Baptism is a communal “immersion into the very presence of the Trinity.”[2] He goes on to explain that all believers who are baptized are therefore immersed into one community of believers—one body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph 4:3-5).

But Morey makes no bones about the messiness of community—even for Christians. “A church is made up of baptized sinners at differing stages of spiritual progression and will necessarily be an imperfect place.”[3] Morey also states that ironically, this messiness is “part of what attracts emerging generations to the faith.”[4] With the continued breakdown of the family, community has become an increased need among the post-modern generation.

Morey states that many churches are already well poised for community evangelism. But churches need to realize that one approach is not good—there needs to be several. According to studies by author Joseph Myers, four levels of belonging (public, social, personal, intimate) contribute to a person’s overall sense of belonging. Churches need to find ministries that touch on each of these four needs. Ministries that can help bring these senses of belonging to the believer include high-commitment membership, small groups and hospitality.

Community is holy, it is scriptural. Why? Because it is necessary for us on an emotional level and it is an embodied apologetic that points others to Christ through intimacy.

[1] Tim Morey, Embodying Our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books), 143.

[2] Ibid. 145.

[3] Ibid. 148.

[4] Ibid. 148.

One thought on “Loving one another as an apologetic

  1. Pingback: Compassion as an apologetic | A Closer Look

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