My friend Sam sent this article to me and I believe it paints another side to the many discussions we have hashed out on this blog about Young Life and the Church. (Symbiotic or Parasitic, Furthest Out? or Young Life, the Church and Maturity .)

I obviously highlighted the key sentence for me in this excerpt, but what are you hearing in Clowney’s thoughts?

Prof. Ed Clowney, from his book “The Church”
“The Marks of the Church” p. 107:

“The Church, shattered by denominational division, dare not label parachurch orginazations illegitimate.  In part, they are simply activities of church members.  In an undivided church, there would be ‘lay’ orgs, under the broad oversight of the government of the church but not the immediate responsibility of church officers.  In part, they represent shared ministries across denominational barriers.  That such ministries may be regarded as irregular in denominational polity may reveal more about sectarian assumptions in the polity than about violations of NT order.   Dangerous irregularities arise for both denominational churches and parachurch groups when they ignore their limitations. The limitation of the denomination (more serious than supposed) is that it does not give full expression to the body of Christ, and needs, therefore, the wider relations that parachurch groups help to supply.  The limitation of the parachurch group is that it lacks some of the marks of the church.  It needs denominations because it does not provide the ordered structure of office, worship, sacrament, and discipline that a denominational church offers. Because such groups are not churches, they do not dismiss members to churches or receive them from churches, and rightly find no difficulty in recruiting members of denominational churches.”

What do you hear from this if you are in Young Life or the parachurch?
What do you hear if you if you find yourself in more of a church context?