From The Pastor’s Desk

How the Reformation Shaped the Church

From Reformation theology flows seven characteristics or identity markers of the church.

First, the church is doxological, it’s oriented to the glory of God.

Second, the church is Word-centered. It’s centered on the incarnate Word, who is Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word: Scripture. The church confesses sound doctrine—what it believes about God, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit.

Thirdly, the church is to be Spirit-activated. It’s created, gifted, united, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, the church is covenantal. It exists in new covenant relationship with God, and together, the members exist in a covenantal relationship with one another.

Fifth, the church is confessional. Each member had a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Together the church confesses sound doctrine—what it believes about a triune God, Jesus Christ, the Son incarnate, and the Spirit.

Sixth, the church is missional. It’s the body of divinely-called, divine ministers who proclaim the gospel throughout the world.

Seventh, the church is here, but not here. It’s already, but not yet. We’re sojourners, we’re strangers. We’re pilgrims in this world. We enjoy walking with the Lord and doing his will now, but we look forward to something greater in the future.  Reformation theology gives impetus to these seven characteristics or identity markers of the church.

The above 7 characteristics of the church were taken from an article by Gregg R. Allison (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). Dr. Allison is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The reason for including this in our newsletter is because I feel we embody all 7 characteristics at Emmanuel UCC.

We are sojourners, pilgrims in the world, walking with the Lord.  In our little corner of the world we are helping to make a big difference in the lives of our neighbors around the world.

The year 2018 brought to us many joys, and a good share of concerns and sorrows.  We weathered many storms together, and laughed in the sunshine together.  It is the word “together” that makes such a difference if we step back and look at our church and each other.  Our commitment to God and His Son Jesus Christ are exemplary.  I firmly believe that on that premise alone, we will continue to succeed in anything we undertake, and be present in the life of the community and world for a long, long time.

I am coming into the year 2019 excited about continuing my ministry at Emmanuel, and am going to begin the process of ordination following Penn Northeast Conference guidelines. Thanks to all of you I have decided to continue my religious education and pursue this ordination track.

Again, in our togetherness we will remain string and continue to uphold those wonderful 7 identity markers of the church. Peace be with you and Happy New Year,

Pastor Lou Aita

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