Friday, January 16, 2004

Threshold of the Future...Highlights

The Old Testament view of mission was entirely consistent with its understanding of holiness

When God moves toward humanity and takes up residence on our turf, then the emphasis shifts from separation to involvement.

In order to preserve this holiness certain objects and seasons were kept separate for the Lord. Come apart is the resounding call to holiness not only in OT but also in many Christian devotional books on the subject. However Separation and mission are not easily compatible. The traditional attitude to holiness betrays a deep dualism – sacred and profane; clean and unclean; body and spirit.

The unfortunate legacy is a Christian view of holiness as some sort of ethereal and disembodied existence in isolation from potential contaminants. It produces disciples that withdraw from the world and punish themselves under impossibly ascetic regimes. Demonstrates an oppressive form of Christianity.

This traditional understanding of holiness is further shaped by a concern for purification which borders dangerously on the notion that it is possible for believers to attain sinlessness – a notion that is arrogant and potentially blasphemous.

When the World is regarded as enemy it is not surprising that mission falters.

Jesus is holy as he is consumed with passion for God and the world. Only when the Christian view of holiness is informed by the teaching of Jesus will the church be equipped to encounter the world in missionary orientation.

True holiness will not keep us from the world, but drive us into it in faith.

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

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