"…the only way to be missional is to be a sectarian, indeed it is the only way to love the world. For the church’s faithfulness, it seems that sectarianism is required."
That’s Halden’s conclusion. Read the article, what do you think?
Field notes on life and mission with God after Christendom
Hey I just stumbled upon your blog. I’m really loving all of your links and articles!
As for this particular article… unless I’m misunderstanding the author’s point, I respectfully disagree that the Church Universal should be a “closed circle.”
The Church is supposed to be comprised of followers of Jesus. Was/Is Jesus a “closed circle” or is He deeply, intimately involved with the world?
Ben Sternke says
Hi Brian, glad you stumbled upon the blog.
I think you are misunderstanding the author, in that while the church is supposed to be “sectarian” in a sense, that doesn’t negate its responsibility to be invlved in the world. It’s the “in but not of” tension that’s at stake here. It seems difficult to get it right – it seems it’s either “in and of” or “not of but not in”.
You said the Church is comprised of followers of Jesus – which is a circle. It’s these people and not those people. That’s the point the author is making: the church has to have a “boundary” in order to define itself – only after it is defined over against the “world” can it be involved meaningfully and redemptively in that world. Does that make sense? We can’t say that we have something the world needs and at the same time say that we’re just the same as the world.
I think that’s what he’s saying when he says mission requires sectarianism, it means the Church ought to be different from the world, and unless it is, it cannot minister to the world.
Ok, wow… that makes a lot more sense now. Sorry you had to spell it out for me. I guess it’s hard(make that impossible!) to put my bias’ aside. When I read words like “sectarian” and “closed circle” in the same sentence as the word “Christian,” it’s difficult to get past all the negative images those words conjure up.
I think he confuses the definition of the word sectarian in an attempt to get a rise out of his audience on this one.