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This is the first lecture of nine part series of the doctrine of the church. The course will give an overview of the basic ontology of the Church: what the church is in its being, its essence (as opposed to what a church does)

“The preeminence of the church in God’s scheme of things could hardly be stated more vigorously than in several texts in the Epistle to the Ephesians. With moving rhetorical power Paul says in the closing verses of chapter 1 that God (the Father) has designed Christ as Lord of all creation ‘and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way’ (Eph. 1:22,23 NIV).

“Later he goes onto say that though God’s justice and wisdom in providence may have been ‘hidden for ages in God who created all things,’ it is His purpose that ‘through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places’ (Eph. 3:9,10, RSV).

“Further on, he says that the church was from eternity so cherished by the Son that He ‘loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Eph. 5:25 NIV). As for the Holy Spirit’s interest in the church, Paul explains that members of the church are ‘sealed with promised Holy Spirit’ (Eph. 1:13), and that by virtue of Christ’s reconciliation through that Spirit, we all ‘have access …to the Father’ (2:18), and that the Spirit is the spiritual presence in us that brings forth ‘fruit … in all that is good and right and true’ (Eph. 5:9).”[1]

[1] Robert Duncan Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (2005; repr., Geanies House, Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publication, 2006), 800.

The lecture notes may be found here: Lesson 1 Introduction to the Church-3