Salvation 2.0: Part 2.7: A little neo-Anabaptist thought

grace5Now, if all this is true, then the church’s foremost task is to be the Kingdom.

That’s not quite how Hauerwas likes to say it. He says the church’s task is to be the church — which says the same thing but doesn’t bring the OT and Gospel teachings about the Kingdom in quite as directly. So I prefer “Kingdom.” It forces us to ask: “What is the Kingdom?”

In short, the church must be a place where the Sermon on the Mount is lived every day. And Rom 12. And 1 Cor 13 — which is not about marriage but living together in church. Which is harder than being married, I think. I mean, there are so many more people …

If we truly are the firstfruits of the new heavens and new earth, then church must be a preview of heaven. And the images of heaven John paints for us in Rev are very churchish. I mean, consider —

(Rev 22:3 ESV) No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

(Rev 21:22-27 ESV)  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,  25 and its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there.  26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Church could be like that. Really. It could. Not perfectly, of course. Not in this age. But close enough to be a two-dimensional picture of the three-dimensional reality for which we pray.

I mean, it seems that church — done right — is practice for the afterlife. After all, the afterlife will be eternal worship (Rev 22:3). If we don’t enjoy worship now, what makes us think we’ll enjoy worshiping forever?

And we’re going to be with the same people — forever. God will give us new bodies, but will we be that much easier to get along with? I hope so. But only if we practice.

The church must become a place where people believe in the Kingdom teachings and follow them in order to better get along. After all, most of the NT’s ethical teachings are simply about how fellow believers should work to get along together as one. It must be really important to God. I mean, there about 200 times more verses on how to get along with fellow church members than whether to use an instrument.

And important as that is now, imagine how important that will be in a land where no one ever dies?

If we could just do this, that is, follow the NT’s teachings on how to live together as fellow believers, then evangelism would be easy. It’s not that we have no mission other than becoming truly the Kingdom. But if we do that, the rest would follow. And if we don’t, the rest will seem … impossible. Like pushing a rock uphill. Like, you know, church.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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9 Responses to Salvation 2.0: Part 2.7: A little neo-Anabaptist thought

  1. Jim H says:

    To be fully transformed and renewed in the image of Christ would also include a renewed mind which would include how we get along with one another (i.,e., the mind of Jesus)! Transformation from a striving, yearning, immature, incomplete transformed church to a fully mature transformed kingdom.

  2. Richard constant says:

    ‘It seems almost to me I don’t know, but I talk to a lot of people also.
    J they seem almost Epicurenistic. now I know but it’s a lot more complex than that.
    I talked to a design engineer of the other night.
    for a couple of hours, to be sure he knows where I’m coming from.
    now that paper that I gave you, blew him out of the water so bad. skirts me everytime he sees me.

    I mean J really that’s so simple I would call it painting by the numbers.
    and it makes perfectly good sense.
    You know kinda like Paul says “I became all things on them.” that’s always resonated with me.

    I sort of kind of think that’s one of our big problems in the church today.
    there’s not enough diversity, in psychological interaction. it takes practice that we in the church refused to do.
    If you get my drift.

    talking to strangers takes you out of your comfort zone.
    but then what is your comfort zone,,?
    I put a post up on Richard BecK’s blog the other day.
    what I basically said was God is counter-intuitive in an asymmetrical way.
    this is what I mean.
    Look at the way Jesus talks to Satan.
    Look at what Jesus said does the Sanhedrin.
    Said to pilot.
    look at what Jesus said to the crowd of Jews when they said crucify him.
    Psalms 2 which is one of my favorite ones the one in the heavens laughs at them.

  3. laymond says:

    “I mean, it seems that church — done right — is practice for the afterlife.”
    Jay, do you think doing good is reserved for inside the building. What about all the shady things that are done outside the building, things we call “making a living”
    I see the life we live outside the building, as practice for the life to come. but that is me, and I believe Jesus. I don’t believe we can leave our coat of taking advantage of the needy outside.

  4. Richard constant says:

    In other words we got to know a little bit about what’s going on in the world today
    Be a regular guy.
    Be able to relate to other people.
    And maAke God relevant because the gospel is relevant and Jesus is relevant.
    If we care enough be able to interact with other people on Their Level.
    you know a connection make people feel comfortable talking with you. sort of kind of some kind of a relationship and interaction.
    Kinda like what God does with us over 4000 years or so give or take a thousand or a million or whatever.
    like I’m a carpenter I mean I know how to get a round block through that square hole.
    I just need a bigger hammer.
    I mean we get so busy talkIng we can’t hear what anybody else is saying, so nothing stays relevant. what is that that clanging Gong sound.

    we are the agents of God I guess you could call it like, we’re carrying the message of reconciliation.
    Sounds like I Like I’Ve Heard that before somewhere.
    I’ll stop there because I seem to be going back in the past too much.
    you’re right we need to love each other we need to learn how to love each other and we need to be relevant the church is a good platform for that if we would just use the tools the god gave us.
    I think we’re just too stuck on ourselves.
    Everybody’s got to be right Western civilization in a nutshell sad but true and I don’t want to end this on a negative note it’s actually a starting place understanding where we live.


  5. Dwight says:

    The church cannot become a place, because the church is the people. The people can be in a place, but in whatever place they are, they must edify the body of Christ. This means that even when we are not in assembly, but we are in contact with our brother or sister, we must build them up. This is done in the Kingdom, which covers all people everywhere at all times.
    Church is not a preview of heaven, as we are enrolled in heaven, but our association with each other must be reflective of what will happen in heaven. but so must our worship of God.
    Rev.21:22-23 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” is analogous with “walk in the light as He is in the light and we have fellowship one with another”. And the fact we are called a Temple of God because God dwells within us and Christ is the Temple who dwells within us, thus the Temple is not tied down to a place (city).
    If we are going to say things like the church is the people, we must stick to that definition, as no other definition is set forward in the scriptures.

  6. Richard constant says:

    Hey Jay how do you spell Peter’s principle

  7. Richard constant says:

    at that point in time I don’t think that it would have been a good idea to explain quantum mechanics.
    Kinda like what Thomas said SEeing is believing.
    and the Lord said not a problem buddy here you go.
    to say nothing about what happened with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
    And these uneducated fisherman, started talking all of these languages and most everybody thought they were drunk.
    basically God was speaking to his audience ,
    and they were just kind of like us.
    A bunch of knuckleheads.
    And that’s it compared to what.?
    and compared to what indeed.
    The actively participating. God, delivering his own creation, from the corruption and degradation, of the deviation from his good.
    And if you love something you’re responsible for that.
    and responsibility means that you fix it as best you can.
    so our Father let us fail totally.
    Then stepped in and took action and restored his creation to the good that it used to be.
    and then sent the spirit down to remind us that he is ever present and active in this deliverance from death from sin, nullifying the old law just because he said he would and he was responsible for his good his very good creation making everything clean again by the giving up of one life and that being his son for the purpose of restoration true giving us the spirit and the words by the Spirit the word of reconciliation so that we might manifest the righteousness of God in our world For those who know nothing of faithfulness to the creator of creation

  8. Richard constant says:

    J one of these days you’re going to have to explain to me, what neo-anaBaptist means.
    oh well nevermind I’m too old anyway, is going down the road the other day J, and I looked out and there was a grade school and everybody up playing for recess and I thought to myself I’m sure glad I don’t have to be in school anymore.

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