Monday, August 2, 2010

The Crucified "Disappointment" - His "Ineffectual" Necessary Church

R. Scott Clark on the institutional church... how it is a disappointment... how it says things it shouldn't, and doesn't say things it should... how it is manipulated for political agendas by believers of the right and the left... And yet how this very same institutional visible church, which Jesus established, is not optional for the christian who also wants Him. From one commenter, quoting John Stott, “If the Church is worth Christ’s blood, then the Church is worth our labor and love.”

Here is Dr. Clark's closing that drives the nail home:

"For moderns, who will let Jesus be Jesus it is only a matter of time before discontent sets in. Jesus is most resistant to being re-made or remodeled. He was and is what he has always been: the Holy, Holy, Holy one of Israel and a disappointment. He seems to have disappointed his mother, at least initially, at Cana. He certainly disappointed the disciples (hence Peter’s sword) and the disappointment among the mob in Jerusalem led them to clamor for another and a new new hero: Bar-Abbas.

"Jesus is just a Savior. He established a kingdom manifested in his (visible, institutional) church populated by Peters and Pauls and Judases and lots of other disappointing sinners. He did not give it great outward power or pomp. He gave it a fairly incredible message (a crucified rabbi was raised from the dead and will return in glory) and two rather unimpressive sacraments. It’s understandable why people would be disillusioned.  At the root of disappointment is eschatology. Americans and moderns have an over-realized eschatology (yet another way in which evangelicals are thoroughly American and modern; “Shine, Jesus Shine”).

"Jesus is also Lord, however, and he is returning. All the glory folk seek now will be then. When the Crucified Disappointment comes in glory every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Messiah and the Lord of Glory. There will be no question. The empirical evidence will be overwhelming. The noumenal will become the phenomenal. What the pietists regard as private will become public. All social ills will be cured. All institutions will be perfected. The civil state will be no more. Of course, as I wish I had thought to tell my uncle decades ago, when he declared that he would believe the resurrection when it could be reproduced in a laboratory, they will have then what they want now but it will be too late.  To have Jesus now (and then) is to have his disappointing visible church now. One cannot have Jesus without his little, ineffectual church. He called us “the least of these” for a reason."

Read the whole thing...

1 comment:

  1. I'm no great fan of Anne Rice, but I did rejoice at her coming back to Christianity years ago. Likewise I sorrow at this latest turn. Scott Clark hits the nail on the head in his essay!

    Thanks for posting this.