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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cross and Sword

I love peering into the history of the Church, looking at each phase of the emergence of our faith. In a recent review Pecheur offered some insight on Church models from a historical perspective. This statement prompted my musing:

"Everything went according to the apostles' plan until the 4th century, when all hell broke loose on church praxis"

As I pondered forward from this event I thought I began to recognize a pattern where the Church could be viewed from one of two perspectives. From one perspective the Church appears to begin to grow and flourish, gaining influence, power and prestige in culture and society. From the other perspective the Church began to be ridiculed, scorned and persecuted. I thought, "Could these two perspectives both be on the same thing?” At present I've concluded they are which gives birth to my suspicion that the Church has two faces. If my suspicion is valid the next logical question would then be "why?”

It seems this dilemma is born out of a misunderstanding of what God does and what He requires of us. The scripture records that Jesus instructed, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me", those who do seem representative of the persecuted Church. The Church of society seems to have accepted responsibility for being the word of God in that they strive to be "sharper than any two edged sword" dividing asunder any and all who would question their method. On the surface this contrast seems easily recognized as we all shudder at the thought of the inquisition and many other notorious acts commonly attributed to "Christianity", but is it really that obvious? Isn't it one thing to proclaim the Truth, accepting the scorn and condemnation that it brings with meekness in humility and quite another to condemn and derail anyone who doesn't accept our reasoning?

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9 Comments:

Blogger curious servant said...

I just finished writing my next blog posting and it happens to be called "The Sword".

It is about a dream I had and how it applies to Ephesians 6:17.

I saved it as a draft so I can review it a little and then I will probably post it on Monday.

Thank you so much for your kind words.

11/12/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

In my honest opinion, I think that there are many things within Christianity that have this 'pardoxical' aspect. Crucify yourself so that you can have life, give so you can get, seek so you can find.

You also see this in the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is currently ruling and over all, its power is overarching and accomplished. However, it is likewise advancing and overthrowing its enemies...

It is and it is not.

Pardoxical? perhaps (depends on how you define paradoxical). Confusing? most definately. Correct? prally. Fun? uh huh!

It reminds me of the idea that the gospel is so outrageous, so amazingly 'otherworldly' that it must be true.

Who in their right mind would think of God becoming man? No one would come to this 'story' on their own. Therefore, it must be true!

11/12/2005 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Zeke said...

His kingdom is not of this world--yet. And it is not our place to rule and reign with him in his kingdom--yet.

The big difference between those who feel like I do and theonomists in name or deed (Jim Dobson comes to mind) is the "yet" part. There are those who think that God's model for ancient Israel is today's model for the church, and that we need to establish God as Lord over our courthouses and legislatures. What can I say, but Heresy? I don't bandy that word about lightly, but those who think that the mandate of the Christian is to make Jesus lord of our democracy are caught up in heresy. They want to repeat the error of Constantine.

And kc, this is why I believe Americhurch receives the scorn and "persecution" that it gets in our country; because it has laid claim to the thrones of power and now has to suffer the daggers of those who would themselves be king over America. We are calling fire down on Jesus that isn't his to take because we've dragged him yet again into human controversies.

11/13/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Zeke, interesting thoughts. I was referring to Church history and hadn’t yet considered how this conflict applies to the Church in America.

My first reaction is to say the Church in America has been spared persecution for the most part. The nation maybe scorned and ridiculed by the world but you and I and most other believers don’t know what it’s like to live in under the fear of persecution. I would say there might be some who are ridiculed and scorned but I wouldn’t say it was for the Gospel. That seems to be a part of our culture.

I will consider it further. Thanks for the provocation. ;-)

11/13/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Thanks for the plug.

I would say that in one of our conversations you mentioned the concept of two Church histories. one from the persecuted and the other from the persecutees (after 4th century).

I have not had time to digest that, but it makes sense. Therefore, you would have the established Church history then those who felt they were persecuted by it having their own historical interpretation.

When Constantine did his thing, it changed many things. One of those consequences was the interpretation of historical events.

Each group then considered the other heretical thus invoking the "Sword" effect to the other.

It may even still be going on today if in fact the pen is mightier than the sword.

11/13/2005 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

Trying to do backlinks on that for ya. I think it'll make everyone's life better. I'll try to rearrange my archives also.

11/13/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

CS I really appreciate you and admire your love and devotion. You and your family remain in our prayers.

Adam I struggled with perceiving this as a paradox but I’m hoping that’s what it is. If not a paradox then the potential exist that one or the other is not the true vine. I know there are many who believe that way.

Pech you and Zeke have me looking at the present given this paradox, as Adam called it. If the sword has been traded for the pen then I have a hard time finding the cross at all. We have one side writing legislation with the pen and the other side rewriting history, sometimes as it occurs. That could indicate that both sides have decided to be the word and that leaves precious few to taking up their cross.

11/13/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger pecheur said...

How quick you are to perceive the truth young Jeidi. I would normally just say EXACTLY, but I felt a bit Star Warish tonight. =)

11/13/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

If all believers would take up their cross in the selfless love of true Christianity, there would be no need for the sword. Sadly, it is not so.

11/14/2005 09:07:00 AM  

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