Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Redeemed Community Manifesto

This is something I wrote while living with a group of unrelated people in a two-family flat. I live with my husband and kids now, but this can still apply to a church community...

1. Community: Humankind was created to exist in community. God's intention from the beginning was that humans would live in community governed by love.

2. Sinful nature: Humankind is fallen. We have potential for all kinds of evil and we are in need of salvation.

3. Law: Humans chose to reject God's governance, therefore making community without law humanly impossible.

4. Individual Redemption: Jesus' atonement allows His Spirit to indwell every believer. Each believer can now be governed by God in everyday life and become a unit of a new community.

5. Corporate Redemption: This new community can be governed not by man, but by the Spirit of God. God is redeeming a people for Himself.

6. Free Will: Humans can choose to be led by the Spirit of God or to be led by base desires. If given reign, these base desires will destroy community.

7. Authority: God has ordained authority structures to keeps evil in check.

8. Conclusion: Christian community should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If we follow God's Spirit we can live above the destruction of sin and death. We can live in the supernatural realm of love, joy and peace. However, at any given moment we can choose to give in to our selfish nature and muck the whole thing up. We need structure and authority in place to keep ourselves in check for the sake of the whole community.

I see the practical application of these principles as a community that looks like the early church in Acts, who shared all things in common and spent time eating together frequently.  At one time in my life, I compared this to Socialism.  This tended to make certain people angry, and probably with good reason.  As someone recently explained to me, Socialism is humankind's answer to our society's problems.  God's answer is sending His Son and then sending His Spirit to dwell in a redeemed community.  In some ways, this might look like a grass-roots type of movement because each individual now has the chance to live according to the Spirit and perform good deeds.  However, as outlined above, in the real world we don't always do that, and so the leadership models lined out in the Bible (eldership, government) are in place to keep us in check.  I maintain that church community in any form should look more bottom-up than top-down. 

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