Oh man, I was going to stay off the blog until Christmas eve, or at least until I had finished all these assignments…but…I am researching for an assignment which looks at the church as a target of community change, note the difference, not the church as an agent for community change, so all my reading is around the issues of being church better etc and this book by Lesslie Newbigin Called Honest Religion For Secular Man, the chapter – Being God’s People.
The book is like a handbook for the non-constantinian church…It was written in 1966!!
Here are some snipits
“The structure which we have inherited appears to be neither relevant to the life of a secularized society, nor true to the biblical picture of the church as a missionary community.”
“The church is a congregation, set to draw all men of whatever kind into one family. But it is also a mission sent to the nations, that is to say, sent to men not as isolated individuals, but to men in the full reality of their cultural, social, economic life as men. For the fulfillment of that mission it is not enough to say ‘come – all are welcome’. It is also necessary to go, to leave the establishment behind, to make daring experiments in seeking to learn what it means to live the life of Christ in every one of the idioms and patterns of the myriad human communities”
“The church must be where men are, speak the language they speak, inhabit the worlds they inhabit. This is the simplest of missionary principles.”
And my favorite for tonight –
“…These missionary experiments [italics mine!] have until recently left untouched the position of the local congregation as the definitive form of the church, the place where the word is preached, the sacraments dispensed, and Godly discipline administered. These other activities have been seen as rather unecclesiastical or at best para-ecclesiastical activities which were the outworks of the church rather than its main structure, the scouting parties rather than the main column.
…We must ask, ‘is the church only truly the church when it is in camp, and not when it is on the march? Is mission not as truly churchly as congregation? Are these goings forth, these self-emptyings, these fallings into the ground, not as truly of the life of the church as the settled local congregation? Should these not also have at their heart the ministry, the word and the sacraments as truly and fully as the other? When we use the word ecclesiastical only for the settled and not for the experimental, only for the congregational and not for the apostolic, are we faithful to the bible? Or are we putting the traditions of men in place of the word of God?”
It’s an odd thing to be reading things like this knowing that some guy penned them before you were born (just 1 year before!) and feel like it’s about right where you are at and what you are thinking.
Back to the books, will be finished my Degree before xmas day!!