1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
To affirm the church is to affirm the gospel of Jesus Christ, for without that gospel there would be no good news, no message of salvation, no redemption of sinners, and thus no redeemed people of God. Every true church is a gospel church and without the gospel there is no church. The church has received from Christ the commission to make the gospel known to all people, everywhere, with the confidence that whoever hears the gospel and believes will be saved.
To affirm the church is to affirm the authority of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God. As Martin Luther rightly noted, the church is where the Word of God is rightly preached. Where the Word is not rightly preached, there is no church, plain and simple. Where the church is found, the Word of God is honored, preached, taught, cherished, obeyed, and believed.
To affirm the church is to affirm the ministry. God has given ministers to his church in order that the redeemed people of God may be fed, taught, counseled, instructed, edified, encouraged, corrected, and led. The Christian ministry was not an organizational invention of the early church, but the gift of God. The New Testament reveals that God calls ministers for his church and gifts them according to his call.