Even after the Civil War, the quick end of Union occupation of the Confederacy enabled the creation of an apartheid substate in the South. Once again, the government failed to live up the core principles of the founding. It is by God’s grace that the Jim Crow regime ended primarily as a result of the Civil Rights Movement—one of the great Christian justice movements in history—and not as the result of another convulsive civil conflict.
A significant subset of the U.S. evangelical community, particularly white conservatives, has been developing a political and emotional alliance with Russia for almost 20 years. Those American believers, including prominent figures such as Graham and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice see Russia, Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church as protectors of the faith, standing against attacks on “traditional” and “family” values. At the center is Russia’s spate of anti-LGBTQ laws, which have become a model for some anti-trans and anti-gay legislation in the U.S.
Notice how throughout 1 Corinthians 12 the emphasis is not on one particular member but on the entire Body itself. This is especially significant when you consider that this church in Corinth was probably one of the most troubled and morally challenged churches in early Christian history. Even so, Paul never abandons the shared body ministry in order to correct these errors. He never commands their elders to take control and whip people into shape. He never addresses the senior pastor at all in this letter, or any other letter. Why? Because there wasn’t one.
The overwhelming evidence throughout the New Testament is that every baptized believer in Christ was automatically ordained by the Holy Spirit into the ministry of Jesus. There was no separation between clergy and laity. Were there some within the Body who were gifted to teach and to encourage and to lead? Yes, of course. But the entire life of the Church did not revolve around these few. Instead, every single believer was empowered to contribute and to speak and to use their gifting as the Holy Spirit directed. According to the New Testament, when the church actually functions as a real Body, and when Jesus is really the Shepherd, the entire Body will be healthy and operate as God intended all along. It makes me wonder how can we continually refer to ourselves as “The Body of Christ” if we do not actually engage in the organic form of shared life as described in 1 Corinthians 12.
Giles, Keith. Jesus Unveiled (p. 42). Quoir. Kindle Edition.
I write these words not to diminish the challenges of the present moment at all. COVID is still taking lives every day. For the first time in generations, a great power has launched a land war in Europe. There’s an active risk of nuclear confrontation with Russia. And our nation is deeply, deeply divided. David French
A polemical initiative for reform of the Catholic Church in Germany is under way, as reported by the Deutsche Welle. The context is all the recent scandals about child abuse and sexual misconduct by priests, as well as a continuing, significant decline in Church attendance. The latter has been going on for decades but is now reaching a point where the very survival of the Church is at stake. Many parishes have already closed. In my country, even the Cathedral of Utrecht, home of the archbishop, has had to close last year. It is fair to say that the situation is coming to a head and the future of religion in the Western world looks bleak.