Christ and Culture

John Hammett: What Makes a Church a Church?

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Christ and Culture · John Hammett: What Makes a Church a Church? – EP12

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In Christ & Culture podcast with Dr. Ken Keathley, we explore how the Christian faith intersects all avenues of today’s culture through conversations with leading thinkers.

Today’s Episode: Today’s context for the church is more complex than ever before. On this episode, we’ll speak with Dr. John Hammett about the doctrine of the ecclesiology and his revised edition of Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches. He’ll also share his thoughts on denominational identity and how the church “gathers.”

Listen to the podcast above.


God gets to define what the church is. We don’t get to do that.

The church is a family.

“I’ve also become convinced that the most important image for the church is not body of Christ, or people of God, or temple of the Holy Spirit. The most important and pervasive image is that of family. We call God Father and each other brothers and sisters.”

What is a church?

“A [church] is a body of believers who are obeying Christ, especially involved in five functions I see in Acts 2: biblical teaching, fellowship, worship, service and evangelism. I call those the five essential functions of a church.”

God defines the church, not pragmatics.

“God gets to define what the church is. We don’t get to do that…. I fear that quite often what governs our church practice is pragmatics, what seems to pragmatically work (drawing a crowd, attracting people). Especially in Southern Baptist life, we like large crowds… [But] this is God’s people, God’s doing, and therefore God gets to define what a church is.”

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The Christ and Culture podcast with Drs. Ken Keathley and Benjamin Quinn seeks to connect faith with every aspect of your life.

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