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Five dimensions of church (the blog convo)

The first topic of the blog convo is ‘the non-negotiables of church’.  At this point I just want to make a kind of pre-contribution, which I’ll return to later.  Soma Church is a new church startup in Sydney and they’ve blogged some useful ideas.  Writing here and here, they sketch out “church” in terms of five dimensions.

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Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

2 replies

  1. Interesting in making a distinction between the ‘heavenly church’ and the ‘earthly church’. Not sure about the heavenly church existing – Where is it? What does it do? Is this the ‘church’ of deceased Christians who are with Christ now? Should the earthly church model itself after this heavenly church or after the humanity that will exist in the new heavens and the new earth? Is it different?

    Militant and Victorious is good distinction…

    Organic and organisational is good too – I like that the organic has to drive the organisational, more often than not, it’s the other way round…

  2. Yo.
    I think they were a bit ambiguous about what the heavenly church is. They might have been emphasising the dead saints, but I’d put the dead saints in with the “invisible” church (ie, yet to be revealed).

    I understand the heavenly church as the whole cosmic gathering of creation worshipping God, of which we humans are one part. So I’m thinking of the references to the “heavenly host”, e.g. Heb 12:22 and Rev 5:11-14. We humans have a unique place in this, getting our own custom-made solo in the song (Rev 14:3).

    What defines this gathering is its total allegiance to God as King (“you are worthy… glory, honour, power…” etc). I think that’s the sense in which the earthly church needs to model the heavenly church — living and proclaiming the radical, totalising message of God’s Kingdom.

    PT O’Brien talks about all these dimensions in the paper Soma links to (I’ve only scanned it quickly). See pp95-97 for the stuff on the heavenly church. He points out that there’s a sense in which we have already arrived at this final gathering (Heb 12:22-24)… Don’t throttle your browser; it’s 17MB!

    Click to access ptob-on-church.pdf

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