Marks of a Church (Diagram)

The following is a chart that seeks to capture the logic of the following confession from Article 29 of The Belgic Confession:

The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.

Marks of a Church

Preaching the Gospel – What creates the church, a community of those who believe the gospel.

Administration of the Ordinances – What marks out and makes known the boundaries of that believing community.

  • Baptism = the initiating rite to mark off those who belong to Christ and his church.
  • The Lord’s Supper = the ongoing rite which continually marks off those who constitute the church.

Exercising Church Discipline – What maintains the proper boundaries of the church, i.e., those who demonstrate lives consistent with their profession of faith in Christ.

On Biblical Theology (with Oren Martin)

How do God’s dealings in the Old Testament relate to Christ and the message of the New Testament? How does the whole Bible fit together? How are we to think about themes like kingdom, temple, land, etc.; and how do they help us better understand the scriptures as centered in Jesus? These are all questions that Biblical theology seeks to answer. In this episode, I sit down with Oren Martin, one of the authors of 40 Questions About Biblical Theology, to discuss what Biblical theology is and why it matters.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

The ABI’s of God’s Kingdom, Pt. 3 (How to Read the Bible, Ep. 13)

If we are to read each portion of scripture in view of the broader story of scripture, then what is that bigger story? What is the overarching storyline of the Bible? In this episode, we cover the next three epochs of that overarching story: Jesus’ arrival, the church and her mission, and Christ’s second coming.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

See all other content in this series.


The ABI’s of God’s Kingdom, Pt. 2 (How to Read the Bible, Ep. 12)

If we are to read each portion of scripture in view of the broader story of scripture, then what is that bigger story? What is the overarching storyline of the Bible? In this episode, we cover the next three epochs of that overarching story: the initial form of the kingdom in Israel, the exile, and the prophets’ messages of warning and hope.

Access the episode here. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.)

See all other content in this series.