N.T. Wright suggests the church exists for different reasons than many of us think:
According to the early Christians, the church doesn’t exist in order to provide a place where people can pursue their private spiritual agendas and develop their own spiritual potential. Nor does it exist in order to provide a safe haven in which people can hide from the wicked world and ensure that they themselves arrive safely at an otherworldly destination. Private spiritual growth and ultimate salvation come rather as the byproducts of the main, central, overarching purpose for which God has called and is calling us. The purpose is clearly stated in various places in the New Testament: that through the church God will announce to the wider world that he is indeed its wise, loving, and just creator: that through Jesus he has defeated the powers that corrupt and enslave it; and that by his Spirit he is at work to heal and renew it.
Wright unpacks what this looks like in practice, and I’m glad. I’m convinced that a renewed ecclesiology (theology and practice of the church) is one of the greatest needs we have today.
This is part of what looks to be a great book that arrived in the mail yesterday: Simply Christian : Why Christianity Makes Sense.
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