Friday, January 09, 2004

Threshold of the Future - Highlights...

Barriers to Mission

Barrier #1. The Bible! Bibliolatry - Cerebral Captivity of the Bible

“Jesus’ use of scripture was neither liberal (in terms of hanging loose from Scripture) nor conservative (by way of justifying current religious practice through the use of Scripture). Rather it is radical in that it seeks to return to roots of the tradition and to draw attention to the intent of God concerning humanity.”

Barrier #2. The Church. Faith of the middle class – Western syncretism – Apathy – Control - Church Abuse.

“The core beliefs promoted by the church closely resemble the values of the liberal Western middle class”. Consumerism, individualism, careerism and security – Bourgeois Christianity.

“…the church has departed from the life and teaching of JC to such an extent that it has lost both the incisiveness and attractiveness of his radical message. When the church becomes another leisure-time activity for the comfortable, it does not do well in the face of the competition”

”It is abusive when people are taught to accept the word of those in authority, and that questioning of that authority is an affront to God. It is abusive when any person or group of person’s claim to speak the word of God, and that claim is not subjective to discernment by the wider community of believers. It is abusive when decisions are made in secret by a small group of power-holders, and such hierarchical rule is accepted as being Christian. It is abusive when difference is demonised and departure from a prescribed moralistic lifestyle is portrayed as either sin or evil. It is abusive when control is exercised to ensure the maintenance of the institution”.

“As long as the dangerous memory of Jesus is kept alive and accessible...there remains the hope that church may become church.”

“The specific shape of the emerging church is unknown…for the church to survive it will have to radically reclaim its roots as the community of Christ”

M.Riddell (1998) Threshold of the Future: Reforming the Church in the Post-Christian West. SPCK

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