In Touch January 28, 2011
Posted on January 28, 2011 by under Touché,

A Both-And Church

As we work through this series on Revelation coupled with the theme of 167 Church, it is a time to remember what we are about and the vision we are living into.  A number of years ago as we spoke of vision, I used the term that we want to be a “both-and” church and not an “either-or” church.  Jim Belcher’s book, Deep Church, has reflected and spoken to that theme for me.  In this series, we are looking at Belcher’s themes of a third way for the church as we move into the 21st century.  Each of his deep church themes picks up the “both-and” approach.

This week we look at “Deep Gospel”.  The traditional church has looked at the gospel mainly as personal salvation.  That is, Jesus’ work of atonement on the cross saves me from hell through the price Jesus paid for sin at Calvary.  The emergent church has focused on salvation as the work of the kingdom and the restructuring of the systems of sin to restore the creation.  The danger for Belcher is that, as we stress the kingdom, we can lose the power of personal redemption or, as we stress salvation, we can lose the emphasis on being a blessing to the world.  The “both-and” approach recognizes the blessing of the atoning work of Christ in personally freeing me from sin and shame, but it also sees, as just important, the redeeming work of Christ for a fallen creation.

Each of the Deep Church themes that we are looking at hold two opposites in tension and serves as a corrective to a church that can go too far in an “either-or” direction.  I appreciate the beauty of HRC in the way that we have lived into this vision for so many years and pray that as we grow into the future, we continue to celebrate the dynamic of this vision in everything we do.

Yours in Christ,