I had some trouble with the chapter, something I saw as dangerous in it that I will get back to. I don’t have extensive notes, and I don’t recall exactly what all I said. But here is a skeleton.
In the beginning there was perfect relationship in the garden
Humanity in the form of our first parents Adam and Eve broke the perfect web of relationship.
Since then all humanity has lived under the effects of that, and added to them.
God tried ways of teaching people to live in a way that made it possible for him to be near them and in relationship, but they could not ever keep to it for long…
Until God made a way through Jesus’s obedience and pure sacrificial death for us to have relationship with God again.
Those who come to believe Jesus did that for them, and come to see how badly they needed help, become part of the body of believers, the body of Christ…
the body of christ and the Church are not the same thing
The church is the institution that gives organization to the work of the body.
so we have a hard to see/define organism that is partially alive in an institution
in that invisible organism – the body of Christ – everyone who is part of it is undergoing consistent heart change, or at least change generally for the better, meaning they are growing to be more and more like Jesus
In the body
- everyone is a prophet a priest and a king
- everyone is submitted to the will of God as expressed in the written scripture and confirmed by the Holy Spirit’s still small voice.
Since the time of Jesus believers have made it a practice to come together in what we today call churches. The institution.
The challenge with that is that over time the needs of the institution start sucking excitement and energy from the purpose of the body of Christ.
Too often, the institurion’s agenda (esp if demoncratically run and run to “keep everyone happy”) will not be God’s agenda. It will be some mishmash of our own agendas.
this is why it is important that believers be networked in the body of Christ MORE than in the institutional church.
The work of the church should always be checked that it does not have distracting agendas from God’s purposes.
This was my struggle with the book where it seemed they tapped so much energy for the “machinery” of the institution. It seems dangerous, though clearly in the churches in the book it was bearing fruit.