Monday, August 23, 2010

Remaking a Broken World - Chris Ash

One of the things that winds me up about Bible overviews is that they always seem to take the same point of view, usually based on Graeme Goldsworthy's People / Place / Presence idea. It's a good way to do a Bible overview, but it only gives one perspective and there's so much more to see! Chris Ash here chooses a different point of view - the point of view of scattering and gathering.

I'd strongly recommend the book to anyone who has done a Bible overview from the Goldsworthy point of view (or read its best write-up in God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts) and wants something a bit different. From my point of view as a Bible teacher, the first two thirds was good but not much new except for his wonderful treatment of Babel. The last third or so of the book, where he gets on to talking about the Church, was spectacular.

The thesis of this chapter, indeed the theme of the book, is precisely this: the ordinary local church with all its imperfections, weaknesses, oddities and problems, has within in the seeds, the spiritual and relational genetic blueprint, of a broken world remade.

When I walk in Jesus' footsteps and become 'like a child' I will willingly receive 'a child' into my group. Only when my self-perception is that I am a despised nobody will I welcome other despised nobodies into my fellowship. Only when I am deeply humbled will my door be open to the lost, the struggling and the desperate.

If we do not receive nobodies, we do not receive Jesus Christ. That is why putting up barriers of pride is so serious. That is why it would be better to have a quick and early death by drowning than to do something like that. That is why it is so desperately important that a church be a church of 'children', a church in which status is zero and agreed to be zero and proclaimed to be zero.

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