This past Sunday in ABF we were talking about the nature and purpose of the local church. It was a good, lively conversation, with everyone contributing their perspective on the matter. One image that came up in the discussion is that the church serves as a beachhead of God’s kingdom into this current world. It’s a place of refuge where we go to resupply and encourage one another before we head back into the battle.
After the discussion I was reminded of Douglas Jones’ book Dismissing Jesus: How We Evade the Way of the Cross (my review), and especially this quote:
Christ’s gospel is the story of deliverance, a release from a spiritual-material tyranny, the principalities and powers of Satan/Mammon. The church is the new kingdom of refuge: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col 1:13). We too often understand Paul’s summary in purely spiritual-intellectual terms, but for the weak the church is an actual place of refuge and freedom. It is supposed to be a move from an unjust and uncaring domain into a kingdom of support, justice, and friends. It is the move from one political entity to another, and if that move is incomplete or merely about “worldview,” then we haven’t yet been delivered from the kingdom of Mammon. We’re called to create a whole, competing city, not just a lecture room. (Jones, Dismissing Jesus, 238)