By Ray Ashmore (Storm-Harvest Ministries)

The Kingdom and the Church: Every gathering of believers is an expression of the Church, the present “body” of Christ on earth, and is commissioned to reach out to every tongue and tribe and nation, breaking down walls among people groups through the reconciliation that is in Christ. The Church is not the Kingdom, but is the primary residence of the kingdom, the company of those who are bound together by their common allegiance to the King. As such, every gathering of believers should be an outpost for the extension of the Kingdom, reclaiming what rightfully belongs to God—through worship, training, proclamation and doing the powerful works of the King.

The Continual Reformation of the Church: Because the reality of the Kingdom is always greater than and institutional framework of the visible Church, churches must be continually renewed and reformed, and never uniformly “set” in a local or denominational structure. Therefore, the church, local or otherwise, can never be a building, a fixed organization, a constitution and set of by-laws, an order of service or a religious hierarchy and government—in other words, an institution. These things may be useful to the church, but are distinctly not the church. To the degree these things are considered to be the church, to that degree they have become “brazen serpents.” And to the degree that institutional structures are static and unchanging, to that degree they mitigate the will of God and hinder the Holy Spirit’s work. A major function of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ is to serve the Gospel in new and ever changing ways, applying the creativity of God in different times and cultures and contexts.

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