Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Way of Anchor and Newbigin's Thoughts - Part Five

"Jesus did not write a book but formed a community."
So writes Newbigin in chapter 18 of his book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Newbigin - a missionary with decades of service in India - asserts that the only interpretation "of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it."

He goes on to describe six characteristics of this kind of community that believes Jesus and lives by his words and deeds.

The first one: it is a community of praise and thanksgiving.
The second characteristic: it will be a community of truth.
The third: "it will be a community that does not live for itself but is deeply involved in the concerns of its neighborhood."

Fourth: "it will be a community where men and women are prepared for and sustained in the excercise of the priesthood in the world."
Not the most eloquent phrase, but it rings true for me. When is Anchor at its best? When is a disciple of Jesus at its best? On a Sunday morning gathering? Singing worship songs to God? Reading the Bible or listening to a sermon? No.

"It is in the ordinary secular business of the world that the sacrifices of love and obedience are to be offered to God. It is in the context of secular affairs that the mighty power released into the world through the work of Christ is to be manifested."

"It is only in this way that the public life of the world, its accepted habits and assumptions, can be challenged by the gospel and brought under the searching light of the truth as it has been revealed in Jesus."

Anchor is at its best when Anchorites are loving and serving as Jesus loved and served where they live, work, play and learn. With the people who God has caused you to notice in the many spheres of life you are part of, what do you do with/to/for them as a Spirit/wisdom filled follower of Jesus? That is way more important than gathering together on a Sunday.

But is there value in gathering on Sundays? Of course. It can be an imporant "place where its members are trained, supported, and nourished in their exercise of their parts of the priestly ministry in the world. The preaching and teaching of the local church has to be such that it enables members to think out the problems that face them in their secular work in light of their Christian faith."

The measure of a church's success is not how many people show up on a Sunday, how many programs are run during the week, or how well we're doing with money and buildings. The true measure of a church's success is how many members of that church are disciples of Jesus, living out the Way of Jesus at home, at work, at school, at church.

Anchor is at its best when its members are committed to living out the Way of Jesus with others in their everyday life, bringing hope and healing to Christians and pre-Christians - being a blessing and blessing others in the name of Jesus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do believe I will start calling you huckelberry:-)