Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Great Book

A Great Book
I know I have had several blogless months. Early in the year I had another few days in coronary care, but have been fine since then. What has stimulated me to break the silence is the discovery, under what I believe was divine guidance, of a book, that has thrilled and excited me more than anything I’ve read for a long time. The book was written in 1951 by one of the most famous and influential theologians of the 20th century, Emil Brunner. It is entitled “The Misunderstanding of the Church”. In this slim volume this man of profound learning and deep faith I and love for Jesus shows that Church as it is known in its institutional forms, whether Catholic or Protestant, is not the Church portrayed in the New Testament, but a transformation and retrogression from that new-born Ecclesia, and expresses his strong and urgent desire to see again a fellowship in Jesus more near to that Spirit-created and governed organism. For me the book has been like Father’s “Yes” to the path I have followed over the past 24 years and it has been hugely encouraging.
I could fill pages with quotations, but will restrict them to two. First, “The Ecclesia of the New Testament, the fellowship of Christian believers, is precisely not that which every “church” is at least in part—an institution, a something. The Body of Christ is nothing other than a fellowship of persons. It is “the fellowship of Jesus Christ”( 1 Cor. 1:9) or “fellowship of the Holy Ghost”(2 Cor. 13:13; Phil.2:1), where fellowship or koinonia signifies a common participation , a togetherness, a community life. The faithful are bound to each other through their common sharing in Christ and in the Holy Ghost, but that which they have in common is precisely no :thing:, no “it”, but  a “he”, Christ and His Holy Spirit. It is just in this that resides the miraculous, the unique, the once-for-all nature of the Church: that as the body of Christ it has nothing to do with an organization and has nothing of the character of the institutional about it.” And second, in his conclusion; “We must be prepared for the possibility that it might be the will of God eventually to destroy the ancient churchly framework of the Ecclesia or at least to complete it by structures of a very different order---With or without the churches, if necessary even in opposition to them, God will cause the Ecclesia to become a real community of brothers.”
This scholarly yet radical book holds the answers for the many who are feeling that the institutional church falls short of God’s intentions for His people.


Blogger Amanda L said...

Very good Jack and so true.

29 November 2011 at 11:23 pm  

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