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The Temple and the Presence
Stand Firm [MS] ^ | 9/22/2005 | Greg Griffith

Posted on 09/22/2005 5:28:30 PM PDT by sionnsar

With the news of the Presiding Bishop's Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion and the attendant hand-wringing and foot-stomping, I wanted to share a few passages from a book I'm reading now, Erwin Raphael McManus's The Barbarian Way:

It's appropriate that the first Christians were barbarians to Rome. History tells us there came a day when the same barbarians turned Rome upside down. Tragically it wasn't long before Rome seduced and civilized the early church. The church did, in fact, become Roman. The church became civilized. And soon the same violence and decadence defined the Christian faith rather than opposed it. We put on robes, built cathedrals, accumulated wealth and power, then lost our barbarian way.

We find Judaism in the same tragic condition during the days of Jesus. Really it's an incredibly strange scenario to watch. Given that Jesus Himself is God of Israel, it should strike us as extraordinary that He was not welcome there. But then again, Jesus didn't like it there. One of Jesus' most violent moments took place in the temple. He became disgusted by what he saw. He was so incensed by how Judaism had become a religious retail business that He began to destroy all of the sellers' merchandise.

It's important to point out that Jesus was not against business. His anger wasn't a response to people selling something of value or providing a meaningful service. His anger was evoked because the sellers of goods had made access to God a business. They had made forgiveness something you could purchase. They had made guilt and shame of others the marketplace for their profit. They had made the house of God into a den of robbers and thieves. They had become so good at religion that they had no need for God. They were so full of themselves that they had no room for God. When it came down to it, they loved their civilized religion far more than they longed to know the God who created them. They treasured the civilization built around their religion and despised the primal faith from which it was born. They would rather have the temple than the Presence.

So Jesus let them have it, which begs the question: What good is a house of God if God no longer chooses to live there?...

There may be no clearer a place where we see the division between the civilized and the barbarian. We discover the painful reality that even God's people, when we become civilized, are more than willing to crucify God. When we choose a civilized faith, God becomes, at the very least, an irritant and, at worst, an enemy to our faith. We find in Jesus that the hostility of God turns toward empty religion and the mercy of God turns toward the outcast and sinner. The way that Jesus called the masses to choose was far too barbaric for those who held the positions of religious leadership. The claim that He must become the sacrificial Lamb who would take away the sins of the world was an insult to their sense of piety and self-righteousness.
Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don't ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name. If He was willing to turn Judaism upside down, don't think for a moment our institutions are safe from divine revolt. I am convinced that even now there are multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ who are sick and tired of the church playing games and playing down the call of God. My travels only confirm that the murmurings of revolution are everywhere. I am convinced that there is an uprising in the works and that no one less than God is behind it.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/22/2005 5:28:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 09/22/2005 5:34:51 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar

1Pe 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?

3 posted on 09/22/2005 6:00:25 PM PDT by BigFinn
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