Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is the Church? The Will of God

"The movement that began about the thirteenth century (I'm not going to get involved in any argument about the exact date) towards the autonomy of man (in which I should include the discovery of laws by which the world lives and deals with itself in science, social and political matters, art, ethics, and religion) has in our time reached an undoubted completion. Man has learnt to deal with himself in all questions of importance without recourse to the "working hypothesis" called "God." In questions of science, art, and ethics this has become an understood thing at which one now hardly dares to tilt. But for the last hundred years or so it has also become increasingly true of religious questions; it is becoming evident that everything gets along without "God"--and, in fact, just as well as before. As in the scientific field, so in human affairs generally, "God" is being pushed more and more out of life, losing more and more ground." Bonhoeffer

The one reality which exists beyond any other reality, (assuming another reality exists, which doesn't) is that God is and all that exists, exists as a result of God being God. "The entirety of all that is real" is contained in God and revealed in His Will.
Esther 4:13,14 "And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
I think for the most part that those occupying pews believe they are in the King's palace, excluded, protected and absolved of all guilt concerning the events in the world.
"our being Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action among men." Bonhoeffer
The Church is quite renowned for it's use and abuse of it's members in activity. I have been personally called to account for the Return-On-Investment of a Children's Program that are Church ran and is still running. The concern raised by an Elder at the time was that the program was not effectively bringing new people into the church, nor was there an effective or measurable evangelical impact from reaching out to children.
The problem is that a lot of Church Programs begin and end with the opening and closing of the door.
What can we possibly believe the result will be when this is the operating system we have in place?
Bonhoeffer talks about the "righteous action of men". It has to be remembered that Bonhoeffer lived during the days of the Nazis and Hitler and the importance of his statement is the call to action of the Church in Germany to act against the persecution of the Jews. The struggle was against an apparent lethargy of the Church to actively engage the Nazis and Hitler in open conflict to the Socialist ideology. The struggle further to that is what that righteous action would ultimately entail.
For many in the Church today "righteous action" is without cost, decisions are made without consequence.
"Is there a human being who has not some particular station by an especial providence, at some particular time, in which he can be of some essential service to his neighbour, in averting evil or procuring good, if he be but faithful to the grace and opportunity afforded by this station?"
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Therefore withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it." Solomon
"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries." Shakespeare
"righteous action among men" will mean different things to different men, but the reality of our existence is that the Will of God has placed us where we are, to be active in that reality. With each decision we make to complacently occupy a pew there is a consequence. In inactivity there is guilt, there may be guilt as well in activity, but action, viable, consistent action done in and for the love of our Savior is an important, necessary, vital and fulfilling aspect of discerning and doing the will of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification:..." the daily growing in grace and maturity, this is the requirement, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well.

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