Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Ecclesiology of the Cross

Ah. Tim Chester and Steve Timmis with a great insight. These guys don't just ask 'what is the gospel?', and not only 'what does it mean to preach the gospel?', but what does it mean to a a church that is 'consistent to the gospel of Christ crucified.' Here:
The church is always tempted towards a church of glory, whether that takes the form of grand buildings, political influence, global structures, charismatic personalities or mega-churches. But an approach to the church consistent with the gospel of Christ crucified and discipleship shaped by that gospel is an ecclesiology of the cross. That means power in weakness, wisdom in folly, and glory in shame. It means we must put our confidence in Christ’s little flock and the sovereign rule of God. It means we must put our energies into the church of the cross even if that means obscurity.

The problem is that ‘power made perfect in weakness’ is so counter-intuitive and counter-cultural that we do not believe it. We believe that God will use the powerful and important and impressive. But he does not. We need a radical change of perspective. We need to ditch our worldly notions of success. We need to ditch our modernistic preoccupation with numbers and size. We need to turn our notions of success upside down so that we align them with God’s kingdom perspective.

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.194-5)
May it be so.

H/T Stephen Murray.

Pic on Flickr by echoesofstars.


mandy m said...

hey justin, thanks for that. good.

It reminded me of an article I read a little while ago, it blah blahs a bit, but had an excellent point about the effect of "impressive" church is...

I quote:

"We have raised the bar on how church is done so high that few believe they could ever do it themselves...

My goal in life is to reverse this. I want to lower the bar of how church is done so that anyone can do it, and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple so that they will do it.

I will never forget meeting with an organic church made up of high school students. As we were all singing praises to the Lord I felt His pleasure. I asked the students to share the biggest church they had ever been to. Southern California has many mega-churches. Several were mentioned, ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 attendees.

"I think Satan is more intimidated by this little church of 15 kids than by any of those Godzilla-sized churches," I said. They all snickered and looked around the room at one another with smiles, thinking that the old man had finally lost his mind.

I then showed them why I thought this way. I asked, "How many of you think you could start a church like one of those mega-churches?" No one raised a hand. I then asked, "How many of you think you could start a church like this one?" All raised their hands. The snickering stopped. It was one of those holy moments in life that are hard to forget. I then asked them to look around the room at all the raised hands, and I said, "I assure you, Satan is terrified by this. And he should be!"..."

I wonder if this is true? That church has become so much about an impressive exterior that it not only causes a *focus* on the wrong things, but also is a hindrance to the growth of the kingdom ??


Anonymous said...

Hey Justin,

Its funny how post Driscol (In sydney) and with all the hype (good hype) of church planting you can begin to feel inadequate, and in your own mind disqualify yourself because you aren't theologically sharp enough, don't have an ability to preach and nail the affections enough, don't look the part enough, or be funny or witty enough.

a cross shaped ecclesiology nails this. Not that we are to despise those who are these things, praise God and pray that he'll use them for his glory but He is sovereign, Jesus' cross work is powerful, and his spirit can turn lives upside down.

i want to be appealing to those things not the things i can bolster up.

Justin said...

Mandy and Anon.

GOod thoughts...