The past few weeks I’ve been thinking of easy it is for me to bear the weight of the sin of others. I feel it. It weighs me down. It drives me to my knees and to tears. The affects of it, and the effects of it, bear down on me, threatening to steal my peace, my joy, my hope, and my confidence. I feel the wrath of God, the just-ness of God in the face of sin. I tend toward mercy, but tremble under others’ justice. My propensity is toward grace, but I see righteousness and holiness as endeavors worth pursuing.
But what happens when I can’t bear the weight of your sin? When your unrighteousness soils my peace and your depravity wrecks my rest?
Increasingly, I am encountering a definition of the priesthood of the believer to mean a rejection of structured leadership in our local assemblies. Because we are priests with direct access to God, we minister to each other and do not need special offices (pastor/elder) that separate clergy from the rest of Christians, aka lay people. I know that many have been hurt by the local church and especially her leaders. I get that some fear any kind of hierarchical structure for for whatever reason. That may contribute to this form of polity.
I’ve been reading and writing about historical Jesus books for more than 30 years. Every now and then a volume or project comes along that catches the imagination of the public, sells well, and generates much discussion. Think of the Jesus Seminar or The DaVinci Code. Works like these have the same features: they present a “fresh” take on Jesus, tell you the Gospels cannot be trusted, appeal to what certain scholars say about the Gospels, pick and choose from the data they contain, and then tell us the Jesus of history was either a prophet (a dime a dozen), a miracle worker (a dime a dozen in the ancient world), someone whose goal was to overturn Rome (a goal that failed), or some combination. The disciples, faced with the dilemma of failed hope, went cosmic and created a resurrected Jesus (an idea with no precedent). Then they convinced the world it was so with the now-created Christ Jesus.
My son is a 20-year-old autistic man with the cognitive mentality of a 2-year-old child, yet he is indispensableto the congregation of Redemption Church. He cannot speak (although he can make plenty of noise) yet he isindispensable to the worship service. He constantly kicks the chair of the person in front of him, he claps during the quiet times and cannot sit still for five minutes, much less the length of a sermon. Yet he isindispensable to the church—indispensable to the Body of Christ.
How can the least become essential and the weaker become indispensable in God’s seemingly backwards, upside down and inside out church body? With Jesus as the head, let me show you a picture of God’s great grace in the Body of Christ—His Church.
When I say that Christianity is rational, I do not mean that the truth of Christianity in all of its majesty can be deduced from a few logical principles by a speculative philosopher. There is much information about the nature of God that we can find only because God himself chooses to reveal it to us. He reveals these things through his prophets, through history, through the Bible, and through his only begotten Son, Jesus.