Total Church 1

I have just finished my first “quick” read through Total Church. And now I plan to go through it chapter by chapter and blog through it as I go. What I am really interested in trying to do, as I go, is to work through how this will work out in a Cape Town/South African context.

Ian Coffey in the foreward is already a challenging voice asking us to question the oft-quoted defence of the church, “Don’t look at us look at Jesus”(p9). But as Newbigin reminded us “the local community is the best hermeneutic for the gospel.” (p10) Coffey continues, “judging by declining attendance statistics in the United Kingdom, they are looking at us, then choosing not to bother with Jesus.” (p9)

That got me thinking (before I even got into the book mind you!) is this idea of “look at Jesus not at us”, even biblical. What was it that Jesus said about “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”? (John 13:35) Or how about, when Jesus prays to his Father: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23)

It seems that Jesus was giving us a quantifiable (at least of sorts) test of whether we were a credible witnesses to the message of Jesus. And that test was the quality of our life together as a community, as the people of God together on mission.

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~ by John on July 14, 2008.

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