A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Jesus Was a None? Really?

Christian Piatt has written a brief post raising the question as to whether Jesus might identify himself with the nones if he were here today. His post is certainly helpful and insightful, but I think flawed in suggesting that Jesus would identify himself with this group if he were claiming a religious affiliation. With so many contemporary comparisons with Jesus, Piatt's is anachronistic. He writes,

Jesus had no church. He had little money, no board of directors, deacons, elders or strategic plan. He didn't require people to make a statement of faith or offer the Sinner's Prayer before helping them, and he certainly didn't turn people away because they weren't part of his religious or social circles.
Jesus had no church because there was no church. The church came into existence on Pentecost (Act 2). St. Paul refers to the church as the "Body of Christ." It seems to me that Piatt has put a wedge between Jesus and the church that is simply unbiblical.

Jesus may not have had a church, but he regularly went to the Temple and attended the synagogue, the two central places where the community of faith gathered. Jesus would no more have been able to disconnect his faith from the gathered community as the early church could disconnect their faith in Jesus from his gathered body, the church.

Piatt does a good job in helping us understand, so as not to misunderstand, the nones in our midst. And I have no doubt that if Jesus were here today, he would spend time with nones in Starbucks and would welcome them. But to suggest that Jesus would be a none if he were here today is not only imposing something on Jesus that I doubt he would recognize, but it is ecclesiologically suspect to suggest that one can have Jesus without the church.

Jesus and the church go together. One cannot be had without the other.

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