One holy catholic and apostolic church

Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
12 Oct 2009
Bible Base: 
1 John 17:20-23

One holy catholic and apostolic church
Preacher:David Jeans
Background These characteristics of the church in the Creed are known as the Marks of the Church; they are not the only way of thinking about the church, but they are a quite useful checklist for thinking about what a church should be like. They are particularly relevant in thinking about new forms of ‘Fresh Expressions’ of church.
Note that in many ways they are an ideal. Archbishop William Temple famously said “I believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church, and regret that it does not yet exist.”
Mark One Unity
Reading 1 John 17:20-23
1)      What is the source of unity between Christians?
2)      How do we recognise the presence of God in other Christian churches? Share some experiences of worshipping in other denominations.
3)      Why is unity between churches and within churches so important?
4)      Does unity mean complete agreement about everything? You could look at Romans 14 and especially vv 1-4; 13-21. What are modern equivalents of this?
Mark Two Holiness
Reading 2 1 Peter 2:4-11
5)      Who makes us a church?
6)      Is verse 11 about what you need to be to qualify as a church member, or what we are called to as a result of being a church member? Is holiness about moral perfection as a qualification, or about being called and set apart by God?
7)      What are we set apart for according to this passage?
8)      Being a royal priesthood is about being a bridge between humanity and God. How can we bring God to humanity; how can we bring humanity to God?
 Mark 3 Catholicity
Reading 3 Galatians 3:26-28
The word ‘catholic’ comes from the Greek kath holou meaning roughly ‘the whole’. Historically, the Roman Catholics took this to mean that everyone needed to be in the same institutional church. Today it is more seen in terms of churches being for all sorts of people, and connected to each other.
9)      There is no difference .... so should each local church contain all the sorts of people who live in its area? What groups of people in Deepcar are under-represented in St Johns.
10)   Suppose we (God willing!) had a successful young people’s service at St Johns in the future. What might the need for being ‘catholic’ mean for that congregation?
Mark 4 Apostolic
Readings 4 &5 John 20:19-23 and Matthew 28:16-20
The word ‘apostle’ comes from the Greek word meaning sent; interestingly the word ‘missionary’ comes from the Latin word meaning sent. So an apostolic church is a missionary church – a church sent by Jesus.
11)   From these 2 readings, what is the church sent to do?