My old radio hero would often say, “You can’t understand the future unless you study the past.” In this chapter, I would like to explore the church after God’s own heart yesterday (in the past), today (in the present), and tomorrow (in the future).
I suppose that in any discussion of the church of yesterday, the proper place to start is before time itself. The reason is quite simple: The church after God’s own heart was conceived in the dateless past.
According to Ephesians 1, in a time before time, God took counsel with Himself and conceived an eternal plan. That plan flowed out of His magnificent obsession. Paul refers to this obsession as “the eternal purpose.” The Almighty shrouded that purpose in a mystery, and He hid it in His Son.
God’s eternal purpose cannot be adequately defined. It’s simply too vast to squeeze into a definition. We could speak on it for the next thirty years, and we still wouldn’t have exhausted the subject.
I will simply say that it involves God’s passionate quest for a Bride, a Building, and a Body. More specifically, God the Son wanted to have a Bride and a Body. God the Father wanted to have a House and a Family. The entire Scripture can be understood, summarized, and explained through this narrative. To put it in a postmodern terms, the Divine quest for a Bride, a Building, and Body is the metanarrative of Holy Scripture. En. See my book, God’s Ultimate Passion.