What is The Point?

By Warren Holyoak

The Point Church is simply a non-denominational community of Christians who are trying to worship God in spirit and truth.

What does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth?

During Old Testament times, acceptable worship of God involved memorials and sacrifices centred around the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, but when God the Son took on human form in the person of Jesus He signalled a change. He told a Samaritan woman, “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). The concepts of memorials and sacrifices remain, but their application has been transformed.

The Lord’s Supper (sometimes referred to as communion or the Eucharist) is the new memorial: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We follow the practice of the early church (cf. Acts 20:7) and celebrate the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week - the day when Jesus rose victorious over death. The Lord’s Supper commemorates Jesus’ sacrificial death, paying the penalty of death that we deserved because of our sin. It reminds us of our sin, but also of our great salvation made possible because of God’s love and grace. When we eat the unleavened bread we remember the suffering Jesus endured despite the purity He demonstrated in his human body. We eat together because we recognise that the church is now Jesus’ spiritual body (e.g. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 cf. 11:33) and we now share communion in His sufferings. When we drink the fruit of the vine (grape juice) we remember that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross made it possible for a just God to forgive our sins so we can be reconciled to Him (cf. Romans 3:23-26). Remembering the great cost of our salvation motivates us to greater service of our Lord. When we meet we sing praises to Him, and take the opportunity to pray together and edify one another in word and song.

Spiritual worship, however, goes beyond ritual. The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Rome, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). The worship that pleases God is a life of obedience and service. God is honoured by those who seek to live the way he created us to live, and Jesus has given us the perfect model to follow. In view of this, our role as a church is to encourage one another and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We try to do this in several ways:

What is distinctive about The Point?

We seek Christian unity, but only on God’s terms!

The gospel of John records Jesus’ final discourse just prior to His arrest and crucifixion. He finished with a prayer that His followers would “be brought to complete unity” - that just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be called one God because of their unity of purpose and action, so all Christians may be one in purpose and action (John 17:20-23).

Sadly, Christianity has been shattered by division, but this is really not surprising because Jesus also said that the way that leads to life is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14, cf. Matthew 7:21-23). Paul acknowledged this when he wrote to the divided church at Corinth, “No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Denominationalism denies Christian unity. Ecumenism (the idea of unity in diversity) appeals to a tolerant culture, but ignores Jesus’ description of the way as “narrow”. Our quest for Christian unity is therefore non-denominational and focuses on something else Jesus prayed for His disciples: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Sanctify means “to set apart”. So it seems to us that the unity Jesus was praying for was not to be found in compromise or loyalty to a creed or tradition, but in being of one mind about what is truth. As the truth can only be found in God’s word, we try to “not go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6). Seeking to follow truth in this way may make us distinctive (set apart), but it also gives those who wish only to honour God a firm basis for unity.

We acknowledge the influence of the Restoration Movement that began in the USA about 200 years ago. This was a unity movement based around Luther’s Sola Scriptura, restated as, We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent, and implied by another rubric from Thomas Campbell’s founding Declaration and Address, In matters of faith, unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, charity. The Restoration Movement was, however, never more than a human movement and so has not always lived up to its own principles. Truth is exclusive in that it rules out error. But we recognise that there is a difference between truth and doctrine (our understanding of truth) because our interpretation of what God has revealed in His Word is fallible. So while we seek to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3) as we understand it, we try to do so with humility, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Consequently, we seek unity with any who have been baptised into Christ, who demonstrate the fruit of their identification with Christ in baptism, and who accept Scripture as the inspired and authoritative guide to all that we believe and practice. As fallible humans who are all still growing in our knowledge of the truth, we are unlikely to agree on every point of doctrine. Doctrine matters and we take our quest for truth seriously, but Scripture itself recognises that there will be “disputable matters” among people of conscience (Romans 14:1ff) and shows how to handle them when we can’t agree. On the other hand Scripture also indicates that some matters are indisputable and any contrary view is “contrary to sound the doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel” (1 Timothy 1:10-11) and that those who persist in teaching them are to be resisted and avoided.

Our quest to “be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10) is founded on diligent study directed at doing our best to correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), for “ignorant and unstable people distort … the … Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). This demands a personal commitment from each one of our members. And the goal of that commitment is not biblical knowledge alone, but transformed lives that honour God according to His will and reflect Christ in us. As we realise that issues of interpretation and application can still undermine this commitment to Biblical Christianity as a basis for unity, we walk humbly and prayerfully, making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

We meet together primarily to encourage and spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Every Sunday morning we assemble at the Wellington Point Recreation Hall so that we can all share the Lord’s Supper together. At this time we also sing together and have a Sermon from God’s Word after which we split up for a time into prayer-groups that also discuss the lesson and share our spiritual journey. On Wednesday evenings we conduct age-based Bible classes in E-Block at Redlands College. We also meet at other times in smaller groups to study, pray or sing together in either our homes or at the ‘Ministry House’ in Capalaba where there are meeting rooms, a library and a counselling service that is available to the public. All our meetings are intended to help each other worship God in spirit and truth by living our lives in a way that is holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1-2).