Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What Does Unchurched Mean?

If you are unchurched when you die, does that mean you’re going to hell?


Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

Extra ecclesium non salus est.
Outside the church there is no salvation.
St. Cyprian of Carthage

Augsburg Confession, Article VII: Of the Church.

1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4, 5. 6.

Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

In other words, to say that there is no salvation outside the church, given that the Word and Sacraments are the marks of the church, is to say that the means of grace are another "sola" of salvation.

As Augbsurg Confession V says:

Article V: Of the Ministry.

1] That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, 2] the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear 3] the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.

4] They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.

(or consider the third article of the Creed in the Small Catechism)

Rt. Rev. Jack Bauer said...

To be "churched" is not simply to have a name on a membership list, give offerings or other such things, however. Faith in Christ's death adn resurrection given and sustained through the means of grace - that's the focus.

Mark Louderback said...

We cannot see into the hearts of individuals, to see whether even in all of their doubts, in all of their fears--yes, even in their unbelief--whether they still cling to Christ. Even if only touching the hem of his garmet.

But at the same time, what does their confession say? They do not go to God's house to hear of His love and sacrifice for them.

This is why we reach out to them and seek to invite them to come to Christ's house.

I use the term, because most everyone in my neck of the woods knows what the Gospel is. I had a pastor decribe it as "Even the drug dealers can proclaim the Gospel." So, you have people who have been to church, know what church is, have an understanding of who Jesus is...and yet they do not go.

Dechurched is someone who went to church and then left for one reason or another. That once again, is the def that I have heard.