In G.K. Beale’s last chapter of his book, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, he states the following (pp. 401-2):
Likewise, we as the church will not bear fruit and grow and extend across the earth in the way God intends unless we stay out of the shadows of the world and remain in the light of God’s presence – in his word and prayer and in fellowship with other believers in the church, the temple of God. The mark of the true church is an expanding witness to the presence of God: first to our families, then to others in the church, then to our neighbourhood, then to our city, then the country and ultimately the whole earth…
We as individual Christians, as members of a local church and as part of Christ’s church throughout the world must not merely share our lives and God’s word with one another, but we need to get out of our own little fishbowls and manifest the presence of Christ through our words and lives, so that the boundaries of the temple, the church, will grow until the whole earth is encompassed with and manifests the presence of God… The mark of the true church is always to be outward-looking and expanding God’s presence and not obsessively introspective.
The main point of this book is that our task as the covenant community, the church is to be God’s temple, so filled with his glorious presence that we expand and fill the earth with that presence until God finally accomplishes the goal completely at the end of time! (italics his)
I want to look at CFBC through the lens of Beale’s thoughts. The mark of the true church is an expanding witness to the presence of God. The mark of the true church is always to be outward-looking and expanding God’s presence and not obsessively introspective. Personally, my observation is that CFBC Walnut is too introspective and not adequately outward-looking. We are not “obsessively introspective” to the point where we don’t expand God’s witness to the presence of God at all. We do a little witnessing. There are a few visitors who come to our church every Sunday. But on the whole, the mentality and the practice of our church (myself included) is not outward-looking and always mindful to expand the presence of God in our families, others in our church, neighborhoods, our city, or our country. Beale rightly says, “We… must not merely share our lives and God’s word with one another, but we need to get out of our own little fishbowls and manifest the presence of Christ through our words and lives.”
May God be merciful to me and enable me to obey him and love others. I want to tell others about Jesus more than I do. May the Lord help me, and all who love his appearing!