Do we? Got any evidence for it? In the Real World?
What would you offer as evidence of it? What are you tempted to ignore in order to justify such a statement?
Ephraim Radner, commenting on the church, says painfully in his The End of the Church “… the Church’s sense of smell has been confounded … Indeed, the most manifest mark of the divided Church appears to be its own insensibility to the symptoms of its condition. No stench reaches its nostrils; no shame cracks its heart.” And this from a contemporary author who, much more than most, believes profoundly in the church one holy catholic apostolic.
Joe Small offers this quote in one of his chapters in his new book Flawed Church, Faithful God: A Reformed Ecclesiology for the Real World.
Think for a moment about a conversation you may have with an acquaintance. Prayerfully you have hope that through your dialogue your friend may come to understand and be glad for the invitation of God in the gospel. Your friend sincerely asks for some, if not proof at least, sign of good news in our world. Are you at all inclined to point to the church – the real church in the real world?
Or, like most, most often, will you concede what Joe quotes John Updike as saying in his, A Month of Sundays: “In general, the churches … bore me for the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola: they promoted thirst without quenching it.”
What to do. What to think. What to believe.
Joe’s book helps us to think through these matters, gaining an understanding of the faith of the Church about God’s faithfulness to the church.
The Fellowship Community invites you to the Fourth Annual Theology Conference. There we will engage one another with the help of this book (and with the help of Joe).
Buy and read the book. Register and invite a friend.
First Presbyterian Church, San Diego