I know that is a mouthful. But it is an important mouthful! Let me explain.
First, the definitions. Christology is the study of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Pneumatology is the study of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Ecclesiology is the study of the identity and work of the church.
Now, a consideration. Often when God’s people are thinking about the church, their Ecclesiology is often weighed separately from their Christology and Pneumatology. Or, to say it at the definition level, their view of the church is considered apart from their view of Christ and the Holy Spirit. How so? Examples abound.
- People looking for a church search for one based on factors such as what the music is like, whether a vibrant youth group is in place, or if childcare is provided during worship.
- A subgroup in a congregation becomes disgruntled and decides to start a church of its own.
- Leaders discussing revitalization in the church start by asking questions such as these: "What ministry can we start?" or "What are other churches doing?"
Notice none of these matters are necessarily wrong to consider at the right time. For unknowingly, these approaches to church life have become central to many people's church experience. Yet they have little to do with the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Often, people's considerations regarding the church reveal hearts more concerned about what the person wants the church to be rather than what Jesus, who shed his blood for the church to redeem it, says it is to be. For we must always remember that the church is both the body of Christ, who is the head over it (Eph. 1:20-22), and the temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in it. When we forget this truth, we separate our Ecclesiology from our Christology and Pneumatology. How dangerous that is! For this separation of doctrine from practice begins to turn the church of the Lord Jesus Christ into a place of man-fashioned idolatry.
This modern tendency in the church is one reason why I wrote the book Hitting the Marks. I want the church to see how understanding who Jesus is affects who we are. I hope the church will see that where the Holy Spirit is present fully, there will be central characteristics or marks present and that we should be striving toward them. Please go to the title's link to learn more!