Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why church?

Barth once wrote a very simple little sentence – nothing world shaking or new, but it was one that smacked me between my existential eyes (I was jumping up and down inside, full of Amen’s. Funny what some sentences can do to you isn’t it?).

‘Where there is church, she has one goal: the Kingdom of God’

Simple, yet very profound.

A side rant on the ‘kingdom of God’: I cringe when I hear preachers who really don’t have a broad enough understanding mention the kingdom of God. The economic, social, political, environmental, moral, personal, physical and spiritual togetherness is so often reduced to ‘signs and wonders’, or a change of an individual’s moral character, and that’s all. Weiss had long ago shown that ‘kingdom of God’ is not something merely within, as all interpreters up to German liberalism read it. How often his insight has been sidelined. And praying ‘Your kingdom come’ can mean, to some, praying for the end of the world! But the kingdom is to come ON EARTH!

I like Barth’s words for another yet related reason. The goal of the church can so often sound religious, yet ultimately becomes an excuse for ineffective, world denying ‘only Jesus and me’ piety. ‘Kingdom of God’ forces the eyes off of the navel, and on to the world around.

What would you say the goal of the church is?


At 2/25/2006 4:50 PM, Anonymous T.B. Vick said...

"What would you say the goal of the church is?"

To go into all the world, preach the gospel, baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

At 2/25/2006 8:51 PM, Anonymous dsg said...

Hmmm... [thinks]

"The goal of the Church is her ultimate redundancy." Discuss.

At 2/26/2006 10:38 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Tortoise, I have no idea what that means, but it sure sounds clever. Must be right.

At 2/26/2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Todd,
I wonder if that definition, though, might reduce Christianity to a purely spiritual message, rather than the whole package - unless your definition involves synecdoche, but what do you think?

At 2/27/2006 6:11 PM, Anonymous T.B. Vick said...

hmmm . . . good question. My only thought is that you asked what the goal of the church is. . . as far as acting as Christians my answer certainly entails much more than what I posted (e.g. feeding the poor, caring for orphans and widows, etc.), however, it seems to me, and I could be wrong, that the goal of the church itself (as a whole) is to further the Kingdom of God and that entails spreading the gospel message (as well as how we should act and what we should do as Christians).

Otherwise, (and getting at your asking about a synecdoche in my definition), I would say that my answer entails all these things, perhaps by definition as we are to be as Christians in the context of the Church. I hope that makes sense - cause I think I may have confused myself.


At 2/28/2006 12:58 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hmm. I see what you're saying, I think!
Perhaps we could say: the goal of the church is the glory of God, the means is the kingdom of God? Now the Piper in me has had a shout, I'll stop.


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