We believe … in the one holy catholic apostolic church
This is usually thought to be the most important thing we say about ourselves. But what if it isn’t. What if it isn’t what we say about ourselves at all? What if it is what we say about God, not us? It is to be remembered that this is, quite importantly, in a paragraph which begins: We believe in the Holy Spirit.
It is God, and God alone, who acts in such a way as to make this statement true. We believe this.
Joe Small has long mediated and mused on this. This year Eerdmans published a long awaited book of Joe’s Flawed Church, Faithful God: A Reformed Ecclesiology for the Real World.
In this book Joe quotes Milan Kundera’s Slowness, “Being among the elect is a theological notion that means: not as a matter of merit but by a supernatural judgment, a free, even capricious, determination of God, a people is chosen for something exceptional and extraordinary.”
Joe quotes John Updike’s In the Beauty of the Lilies to make the point early and vivid: “A company of believers is like a prisonful of criminals: their intimacy and solidarity are based on what about themselves they can least justify.”
The Church is flawed, made up of only the flawed, and (here’s an important point) at its best when it remembers this.
God is faithful, by definition of the word – always. The point being, among other conclusions, that God will, indeed has, if you can believe it, created a church that is one holy catholic apostolic.
In the Real World.
The Fellowship Community invites you to its 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.