Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sacrament and Success

Chapter six, “Sacrament and Success,” evaluates the definition of a “sacrament.” Neuhaus observes that the term was originally used for the pledge that a soldier would make, a pledge of fealty. In this sense all churches are, by nature, sacramental. We find that the body of Christ always asserts certain truths and pledges loyalty to those truths. What defines the success of a church is, however, rather amorphous. Is the church successful because of its budget, its numbers, or the size and prosperity of its staff? The church of Jesus is rather successful insofar as it is faithful to its covenant nature. We are successful before God as we hold fast to the nature and identity the Lord has given us, and as we function in our society within that God-given role. Again this is an instance of our uneasy role as ambassadors of a disputed sovereign. God’s kingdom flourishes in a different manner from earthly kingdoms. It will not be readily recognized or understood. So be it. Let God be God.

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