October 7, 2019

Walter Brueggemann quote

There is a mistaken noncovenantal notion about the church floating around. And it is like a disease. It is that we are all Christians, or all believers, or at least all well-intentioned people. And thus we all come together to cooperate as best we can.  This is called a "voluntary association" of like-minded people who choose a mission together and stay at it as long as we choose.

But let us be clear, that is not the church that is offered in the Bible. ... The church of the Bible is not a voluntary association of people who stay together because it is convenient to do so.  In the Bible, the church is not our idea or our invention.  It is God's idea....

We are bound together, not because we agree or like each other or feel comfortable, but because there is a call from God and to each other. And that means we have a right to expect something special of each other and of ourselves.  What we have a right to expect is that people will respond to the call of God even when it does not suit. Often God's call to mission is in tension with our preferences, with our vested interests.  Our business is to call each other to act against our preferences and against our vested interests. And therefore in quite concrete ways, on budgets and programs, we have always to be asking about God's call that likely suits none of our vested interests.
Walter Brueggemann, A Gospel of Hope, "Evangelical Identity," pp. 77-78