What it isn’t…
- It is not a church, but is the personal, internal, subjective faith that identifies church members as belonging to Jesus Christ.
- It is not formless, but conforms to the biblical reality described in Scripture.
- Its discipline is not strict and legalistic, but is free and gracious. Its principles are absolute in their biblical conception, but gracious and merciful in their practical application.
- It is not concerned about titles or positions, but with genuine Kingdom leadership.
- It is not a particular group or social organization. It is concerned about Kingdom membership more than church membership
- It is not concerned about organizational leadership, but with growing God’s people.
- It is not concerned about voting, budgets, or committee reports, but with biblical integrity in the lives of individuals.
- It is not about denominations or associations, but with furthering the cause of Christ in the community.
- It is not a man-made corporation, but a God-given fellowship.
- It is not a non-profit organization. It offers no tax incentives for giving, but relies upon Christian charity.
- It is not about organizational names or constitutions.
- It is not about property ownership.
- It is not a legal entity, but a spiritual organism.
- It is not an institutional program, but a biblical family pattern.
- It is not about budgets or bank accounts, but is about friends helping friends informally.
- It is not a social, recreational or service club.
- It is not concerned about social status. It does not cater to the rich and famous, nor does it favor or pamper the poor and downtrodden.
- It does not exist for the sake of its own members, but for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- It is not based upon worldly friendships, but upon spiritual fellowship. Favors are never owed nor collected.
(This is not to say that Christians should not gather in churches or own property or have meetings, budgets, vote, etc. Rather, it is to say that these things are not to take precedence in the lives of Christians. It simply acknowledges that all to often such things pervert the primary purpose and structure of Christian fellowship.)
What Informal Christianity is…
- It is simple faith alone in Christ alone that makes Christianity an easy burden.
- It is lived in a casual, ordinary, and common way.
- Its application to life is unofficious, relaxed, suited for everyday use. It is a part of ordinary living, not apart from ordinary living.
- It is a sincere, unfeigned, genuine, personal love of the Lord.
- It is willing obedience or conformity to Scripture alone and real cooperation among God’s people, which means that it doesn’t conform to the world.
- It is personal pleasure and delight in God’s Word and God’s Way.
- It is the application of the Bible alone to the structure and function of the church.
- It is the liberty to enjoy life to its fullest measure in Christ.
(This is not to say that formal structure is not important, it is. But formal structure apart from the informal realities here mentioned robs the form of its original meaning, purpose and effectiveness.)