Sunday, 25 July 2010

Bonhoffer on acting as the Church

Found a good quote on Tim Chester's blog about giving and receiving rebukes. Individualism can make the church become passive at this. The family of God need to be loving by taking responsibility for each other. This can include helping and supporting people as well as correcting and rebuking.

'The basis on which Christians can speak to one another is that each knows the other as a sinner who, even given all one’s human renown, is forlorn and lost if not given hep. This does not mean that the others are being disparaged or dishonoured. Rather, we are paying them the only real honour a human being has, namely, that as sinners they share in God’s grace and glory, that they are children of God. This realization gives our mutual speech the freedom and openness it needs. We talk to one another about the help we both need. We admonish one another to go the way Christ bids us to go. We warn one another against the disobedience that is our undoing. We are gentle and we are firm with one another, for we know both God’s kindness and God’s firmness. Why should we be afraid of one another since both of us have only God to fear?’

‘Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons other to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.’

More Bonheffer quotes here.

Real Christianity

There are loads of different ideas about what authentic Christianity is in our culture, and there always has been. Jesus made it one of His missions to correct the 'Bible-guys' of His day. The Pharisee's presumed they had arrived theologically and spiritually. Jesus said to them: 'You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.' (John 5:39-40)

Many people have misconceptions of real Christianity. Even though I was brought up in a Christian home I presumed that Christianity was a way to dodge God's anger, a bit like a 'get out of hell free' card. Recently I've been reading a book by Henry Scougal called 'The Life of God in the Soul of Man'. You can read it online here. In it Scougal defines real Christianity:

'...true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle's phrase, it is 'Christ formed within us'... I know not how the nature of religion can be more fully expressed, than by calling it a divine life.' (Page 16, IVP)

Real Christianity is knowing Christ. It's the enjoyment of God's essence. It's knowing and loving God because He first loved us! Jesus said to His Father while on earth: 'this is eternal life that they may know you the only one true living God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent' (John 17:3)