What the Church is and is not

For our Sunday morning Bible class, we’ve been looking at the Augsburg Confession for a number of months now.  CPH has a Bible study that looks at the various articles of both the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.

Today we looked at Article VII (Of the Church) and VIII (What the Church Is).

There is much discussion about what the Church is and what the Church is not.  The confessors state very clearly what the Church is:

The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

Understand what I am about to say so as to not cause confusion.  Programs do not make the Church.  While programs have their place within the ministry of the Church, programs will not make or break the Church.  One could have a church that has nothing but the Divine Service and Bible study and it will still be the Church.  One could also have a church that has a school, mens groups, womens groups and every program under the sun.  However, if they do not have the Gospel preached purely and the Sacraments administered rightly, then you do not have the Church.

There is more that can be said about this topic, but that’s enough to wet your whistle.  Maybe someone will comment.  Maybe someone will tell me I’m wrong and off base here.