Who Are We?

Who Are We? is the title of a recent book by Samuel P. Huntington which has the subtitle The Challenges To America's National Identity. As you might surmise Huntington examines America's identity crisis. Students of current events are familiar with this discussion. We are told by our oh-so-wise media that the United States of America is divided into polarized bodies, one made up of the red states and one of the blue. I hate to sound like Isaiah or Jeremiah about this (I don't really hate it I like it very much), but our problems as a nation increase in proportion to the distance we move away from God-given principles of right living. Too many in our nation refuse to see that this country is a blessed and well-prepared vineyard. These intelligent and arrogant folk turn away from the fresh water of God's truth to broken cisterns full of the bitter water of secularism.
Nations formed by political theory (ideas give rise to nations) are important. We should think about such things. But there are more important things. I have in mind another institution about which we might ask Who Are We? And that is the church.
I recognize that to speak of the identity of the church is in many circles nonsensical. If we seek to identify something we imply that there is a definite identity to be discovered. These days nothing is to be too definite. Might hurt somebody's feelings. But there is a problem with this enlightened view: God Himself was definite about the identity of the church. Therefore, who are we, indeed?
Readers of these little articles likely know the answer to this question. But just in case such is not true for all, let me provide a fool-proof methodology for finding the answer to the question, if indeed, it is God's answer that is desired.
Since the subject is the church as pertains to the religion of Christianity, we should look for and find a source document containing reliable information on that subject. If we are interested in the best documents we will want ones closest to and descriptive of the initial stages of the design of the church. We will also want documents that record information providing insight into the implementation of that design. And thanks be to God we have these very documents, collected and preserved for us as the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The New Testament provides all we need to know about the church. It can and will tell us who we are.
All that remains is to read the New Testament and note every reference to the church. I call this cumulative Bible study. There are other ways to study the Book. We can look up the words in dictionaries and that is good because we find that the word church means the "called out." We are called out of the world and into Christ. But we also can find this out by reading the English Bible in the cumulative fashion, adding up everything we learn about the church.
In coming articles we will discuss the results of this sort of study. But let me give a little preview. We will find that Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). We will find that it grew quickly at first (Acts 2-8) and then began to suffer persecution. We will learn that the church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). We will see that Jesus saves the church (Ephesians 5:25). We will find out that notwithstanding all the theology and intellect of man, there is but one church (Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12).
This information is not hard to find. It may be hard for some to believe, but it is not hard to find. Who are we? No simple quip can serve as a real answer, but consider this: We are people who just want to be what God wants us to be. Can't imagine anything wrong with that can you?