Below is part of summary project on the doctrine of Ecclesiology (study of the church). During this project, I was to provide a detailed exposition on ecclesiology. This is not included in this post as my beliefs may differ from yours. Also, thoughts on the church, its purpose, baptism, offices, the sacraments, and its functions are all things Christians must wrestle with. From past hurts and pains we have felt in church to how it impacts our theology to a general theology of the church is something we all must deal with.
Think about what God has revealed and study the role of the church. What is the role of worship? What about sanctification? Is the church only a select few or many? Is one denomination right over another? Does denominations matter? What is the true, universal church? Is the church different from Israel? How long will it last? What are the qualifications of elders and deacons? Who can be an elder?
Brief Statement on the Doctrine of Ecclesiology
The church is the new covenant community of the Spirit for which all who are united to the risen and ascended Christ, who is the Head of the Body, are members of the invisible church which is the body and bride of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Eph 1:20; 4:3-10). The visible or universal church consists of all the true believers in Christ regardless of membership or nonmembership in organized churches of earth (John 17:20; 1 Cor 3:16-17). By the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, all believers are baptized and thus become the one body of Christ, and having become members of the united body, are to be obedient to Christ’s commands to seek unity of the Spirit, keep peace among the body, and love one another and their neighbors as Christ has loved (Matt 22:37-39; John 17:20-23; Eph 4:3-6; Col 3:14-15; James 3:18). Water Baptism, identification with Christ and His body, and the Lord’s Supper, the sign of the new covenant, are the only sacraments of the church and are a means of testimony for the church of the new covenant (Matt 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 10:47-48; 1 Cor 11:26). The justified believer is being sanctified, which is a setting apart unto God, by grace through faith; and while retaining their sin nature, is growing in godliness by the power of the Spirit and not human effort and yet will not be fully sanctified until glorification when the sin nature will be completely removed (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Eph. 4:24; 5:25–27; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:10).
Practical Implications of Ecclesiology – Ministry Emphasis: Christian Leadership
Ecclesiology is eminently important for Christian life and ministry because the church is a vital dimension of the Christian faith. Love for God and love for others is often summed up as the two “Great Commandments” (Matt 22:37-40). If love for one another is so important, then it would imply that the church is to love one another and the church would be known by their love (John 13:35). There are a number of stories from people who have left the church or will not even attend church because of some form of abuse from a church or some of its members. While the church is an easy target in modern times, we as Christians must work that much harder to focus on manifesting the love of Christ to all people, regardless of any differences.
Each member of the body of Christ has been given some form of a spiritual gift. These gifts are given by God, at His discretion and are for the good of the body. Each member of the body is to understand and use these gifts for the glory of God and the strengthening of the body. Each believer has been called to a holy calling and to not walk in the flesh, but in the Spirit and thus live in the power of the indwelling Spirit instead of the flesh. Every believer, indwelled by the same Spirit, is called to their own divinely appointed service as the Spirit wills and should be encouraged in their service for God. The church must help its members understand what these gifts are and how they can be used in their service to God. If one part of the body is hurting, then the whole body hurts with it. If one member is not using their gifts for the glory of God in the body, then the body is not fully functioning as it should (1 Cor 12:12-27). The church must not run from the topic of spiritual gifts, but must educate its members accordingly in hopes that the body may be better served.
Christians should remember that the church and the kingdom of God are not identical. There is a greater and blessed hope that is still yet to come. The church is the present form of the kingdom and the kingdom is present in the church, but the kingdom is not completely present now. The church witnesses to the kingdom of God and is the instrument of the kingdom. The church should be a place and a people of righteousness, justice, and peace. The church should be a place that helps those that are lost, marginalized, oppressed, and hurting. Yet, leaders and members of the church must remember what their lives were before Christ, and continue to build each other up by encouraging and strengthening each other in Christ’s love. The church should show members and visitors the transformative power of the Gospel, instead of something that distorts the Gospel and obscures God. Leaders should continually emphasize that church is not just a collection of individuals, but is a community of believers experiencing and worshiping God. As a church, we must remember the authority of the inerrant Scriptures in our lives and be obedient to its instructions.
The church is responsible to live as the community of the Spirit in the world. The church and all believers are not of the world but we are in the world (John 17:9-12, 15). Believers were called to function as salt and light and show the world what true worshippers of Christ look like. Church should continually remind people who God is and how He loves us, for out of our love for Him will flow a love for others as we are live out the commands of Christ. Our charge to “grow in grace” and becoming more spiritual mature should be a constant reminder. As we grow, we are being sanctified, we are loving God, obeying His Word and Spirit, and helping others see the transformative power of God.
Finally, the church should be a continual reminder of a believer’s justification and sanctification. Baptism and Communion should always be held in high regard instead of a task to be accomplished. A regular reminder of the beauty of Communion needs to occur to truly remember the work of Christ. In doing so, we look forward to the day when in our glorified bodies we are finally with Christ. Church is something that is overlooked; it is time modern believers show sanctified people worshipping in Spirit and in truth proclaiming the love of Christ.
Biblical, Exegetical, Theological, Historical, and Explanatory Notes
 WCF 25.1: “The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, “Chapter 25: Of the Church,” 3rd ed. [Lawrenceville, GA: Committee for Christian Education and Publications, 1990]). The invisible church (the elect) is known only to God.
 Glenn Kreider, “The New Covenant,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016), 74. C.f. Gregg R. Allison, Sojourners and Strangers (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 30.
 Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12-27; Eph 1:20-23
 Eph 1:20-23; 5:23; Col 1:18.
 Eph 3:6; Col 1:18
 Eph 1:23
 1 Cor 12:12-27
 Matt 16:16-18; 1 Cor 3:16-17. Glenn Kreider, “The New Covenant,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016), 27. “The church is defined by the people who constitute it. Or better, she is defined by the one whose people constitute it. The NT emphasis is on what she is, not how she came to be; on who she is, not what she does; on whose she is, not who/what she used to be.” The church assembles together (Heb 10:25), but is not defined by the assembly or a building. The church remains the church even when not assembled.
 Eph 2:8-10
 Acts 2:1-4, 42-47. “It is notable that Jesus makes only two references to the church (Matt. 16:18; 18:17), and that in the former case he is speaking of the future (‘I will build my church’). The fact that Luke never uses ekklesia in his Gospel but employs it twenty-four times in Acts is also significant. It would seem that he did not regard it as present until the period covered in Acts. While Acts 7:38 uses ekklesia of the people of Israel in the wilderness, it is likely that the term is here being used in a nontechnical sense. We conclude that the church originated at Pentecost” (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013], 1048). Regarding Ephesians 2:11-3:11, if the church, which is the dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit, is built upon the foundation of the work of Christ, its origin must be dated after the work was accomplished (Glenn Kreider, “The New Covenant,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016), 37-39).
 Matt 26:26-30, 28:19-20; Acts 8:38-39; 1 Cor 11:23-24, 12:13. The mediation of covenant blessings of the Abrahamic covenant appears to provide the best distinction between Israel and the church. “Israel” is designated for those whose relationship is governed by the Mosaic Covenant, whereas “church” is designated for those whose relationship to God is governed by the New Covenant (Glenn Kreider, “The New Covenant,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 73).
 Dan 9:27; John 14:1-3; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; Rev 6:1-19:21. See Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article XVIII,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/ and Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article XIX,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement
 John 17:20; 1 Cor 1:2, 3:16-17. See note 8.
 John 17:20-23; Eph 4:3-6; 1 Cor 3:16-17
 Col 3:12; Eph 2:21; 5:27
 The church is universal and is no longer confined to one nation as before under the law (see Westminster Confession of Faith, “Chapter 25: Of the Church,” 3rd ed. [Lawrenceville, GA: Committee for Christian Education and Publications, 1990]). The local church is an entire church, but it is not the entire church. The church includes believers of past generations and of all cultures and societies. Each is part of the church. “Genuine catholicity is that which pertains to everything necessary for the justification and sanctification of the believer. It is a wholeness of faith that offers the complete counsel of God to all peoples in all times and places” (D. H. Williams, Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999], 225).
 John 17:20; Eph 2:20. “The church is founded on the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20) and is populated by those who have believed in Christ through the apostolic message (John 17:20)” (Glenn Kreider, “Creeds,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 54).
 See “Nicene Creed,” Christian Classics Ethereal Library, accessed July 4, 206, https://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.html.
 John 3:6; Rom 8:9, 12:5; 1 Cor 6:19, 12:13; Eph 4:3-10.
 John 3:6; Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:19, 12:13; Eph 4:30; 1 John 2:20-27. See Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article XII – The Holy Spirit,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.
 John 17:20-23; Eph 4:3-6; 1 Cor 3:16-17.
 Col 3:1-11; James 3:18
 Col 3:9-15. Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article XIII – The Church, A Unity of Believers,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/
 Matt 22:37-39; John 13:34-35, 15:12-13; Col 3:12-17.
 Matt 28:19; Acts 10:47-48; 16:32-33; 18:7-8. Ephesians 4:4-5 points to one baptism for the forgiveness of sins (also see Acts 2:38, “Nicene Creed,” Christian Classics Ethereal Library, accessed July 4, 206, https://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.html). Baptism involves the use of water. “To baptize” means to plunge or immerse and symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Many New Testament texts seem to imply immersion, however not all text follow this rule. All three modes of baptism, immersion (Matt 3:13-17), sprinkling (Heb 9:10-14; 10:22), and pouring (Titus 3:5-6) have biblical support, however most importantly is the persons professions of faith in Christ.
 Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:17-34.
 See Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article XIV – The Sacrament or Ordinances,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/
 Gal 3:27; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21. See Glenn Kreider, “Sacraments,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 40.
 1 Cor 11:17-34. Communion should only be open to believers in Christ. Glenn Kreider, “Sacraments,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 43.
 Elders are also known as Overseers, Bishops, or pastors (Acts 20:28, 1 Pet 5:1-2). The New Testaments use of the terms “Overseer” and “Elder” seem to imply they refer to the same office and function (See Glenn Kreider, “Leadership,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 8).
 1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet 5:1-4. The functions of the elder seem to imply the exercise of leadership, ability to teach, manage and care for the church, encourage others with sound doctrine, refute those who oppose sound doctrine and shepherd or pastor the church. There is support for women servicing the church by pastoring and shepherding women and children (1 Tim 5; Titus 2). “Paul’s list of elder qualifications indicates that the office of elder/pastor is limited to men, and this office with its commensurate authority is conferred by the local church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)” (Glenn Kreider, “Leadership,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 22-27). However, the “office of not open to a woman, but as with a man, she can exercise her gifts without holding this office” (Dallas Theological Seminary, “Women in the Church: Biblical Data Report,” DTS Connection Extra [Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1997], 8).
 1 Tim 3:8-13. While the New Testament does not seem to demand that a church have deacons, it does demand that if there are deacons they must meet the New Testament qualification. I do believe there is some ambiguity as to whether females can be deacons (1 Tim 3:11), but it seems that the office of deacon is open to women. Some women have fulfilled many of its functions in the New Testament church, such as Phoebe (Rom 16:1). “Since the function of teaching is a spiritual gift and not an office of the church, it is available to both men and women (Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28-29). Though women are forbidden to teach men in corporate worship, they can always teach women and children (Titus 2:3-5) and give instruction to men as well, at least privately, as Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos (Acts 18:26) (Glenn Kreider, “Leadership,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 15-16).
 “The church exists for two inter-related purposes, both of which bring glory to God and reveal Him. Both of these purposes have individual emphases but they require the community. Both of these purposes are spiritual works or manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Both of these can be performed outside the church but they are church functions” (Glenn Kreider, “Worship,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 15).
 Ps 148; Matt 22:37-39; John 4:23; Eph 5:17-21; Rev 4-5. Worship “focuses on the glory of God. It is the creatures’ ‘response’ to the divine; it is focused or directed toward God and the earth. Worship results in the manifestation or revelation of God on earth” (Glenn Kreider, “Worship,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 15). Worship is to be done in Spirit and in truth.
 Matt 6:9; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; John 17:18; 20:21; Acts 1:8. Discipleship “focuses on the expansion of the manifestation of God’s glory on earth; it is focused or directed toward the earth and the spread of his glory on earth but is also focused on God and his glory (Glenn Kreider, “Worship,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 15). The goal of discipleship is the edification of the body of Christ (Eph 4:7-16)
 Glenn Kreider, “Worship,” unpublished class notes for ST 105 [Dallas Theological Seminary, Summer Semester, 2016], 78.
 Holiness or a setting apart unto God. All believers enter into this state when they are born of God. Just as justification is by grace through faith, sanctification is by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10). Justification and sanctification must be distinguished and cannot be separated.
 1 Thess 4:3
 John 17:16-17; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 10:10, 14. “Since the believer is in Christ, he is set apart unto God in the measure in which Christ is set apart unto God” (Dallas Theological Seminary, “Article IX – Sanctification,” Dallas Theological Seminary, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement).
 2 Cor 3:18; 7:1; Eph 5:25-27; 1 Thess 5:23. “Progressive” sanctification is the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life. It is the growing in the Lord or the growing in grace mentioned in 2 Peter 3:18. God started the work of making us like Christ, and this is the way He is continuing it (Phil 1:6). Progressive sanctification has in view the setting apart of believers for the purpose for which they are sent into the world (John 17:18-19). That Jesus set Himself apart for God’s purpose is both the basis and the condition of our being set apart (John 10:36). Christians are “in Christ” and grow into the conformity of that image. Sinfulness is not removed until glorification but the Christian should make progress in character and conduct during life. The commands of Scripture are to be obeyed through the power of the Spirit. Growth in godliness is not through human effort or works but is a process involving the work and power of the Spirit.
 Col 1:27; 3:4; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 John 3:2. Paul speaks of Christ as “the hope of glory” (Col 1:27) and links the glorious appearing of Christ to our person glorification. This glorified state will be a total sanctification and will be our ultimate separation from sin.