Friday, 11 April 2008

Some notes on hopeful directions, foundations and practices

This is for those of you that (like me) are looking for ways to navigate as, in (or even out of!) a flawed and struggling church in post-christendom.

The excerpt is from a book called "The secret of the strength: What would anabaptists tell this generation?"

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"I am the way and the truth and the life."

To the Protestants, the Bible was the manifesto, an end in itself. Once they
reached an agreement on how to "properly" interpret it, they revered it and treated it with gallant devotion.

They preached and persecuted and fought mighty wars in defense of the Bible and its doctrines.
To the Anabaptists, the Bible was simply the book that took them to Christ.

The Protestants found the "key" to Bible interpretation in the epistles of Paul.
But the Anabaptists found it in Christ and his Sermon on the Mount.

The Protestants saw in Paul a great theologian, the expositor of the doctrines of faith and grace. The Anabaptists saw in Paul a man who forsook everything to become a "fool for Christ's sake." They found community with him in his martyr's death.

The Protestants lived to obey their authorities. They spoke much about "Godordained authority" and held their princes and church leaders in highest esteem.
The Anabaptists lived to obey Christ.

The Protestants worked en masse and waited until "everyone was ready" to make
changes in religious practice.
The Anabaptists did, on first opportunity, what they thought Christ wanted them to do. If no one else joined them, they did it alone.

The Protestants followed a logical course. Theologians, princes and educators planned what to do in a way that made sense.
The Anabaptists followed Christ without making plans. That did not make sense. But it was the secret of their great strength.


And it led them . . .

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Many of the convictions, offices and practices of the church that we hold in high esteem, perform and find solace in are seriously hampering it´s witness.

How do we "get it right"?

We might find some good help from those radical christian groups during the christendom-era who never won the popular vote. One such group was the anabaptists who in its genesis rediscovered healthy practices of discipleship that the reformers failed (or dared not?) to find. (Eventually, hampered by persecution, the anabaptists scattered).

I recommend those of you who do give a damn about "church" and it´s place in contemporary society to read this compelling book by Peter Hoover! Available as a pdf-file here.

And why not read Frank Violas and George Barnas "Pagan Christianity" to take a serious look at the real historical foundations for some current practices of the contemporary church and ask your self the question - Is this the way to do it?

For a primer on the issue of being "church" in post-christendom, and in investigating hopeful ways of "doing it", I suggest you read "Church after christendom" by Stuart Murray.


2 comments:

Jilliefl1 said...

The sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” is out now. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at
http://www.ReimaginingChurch.org
It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://www.frankviola.wordpress.com

Neil Morgan said...

Happy Birthday Andreas! What's it like to be so young? Keep cool, my friend. God Bless, Neil