Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Bledsoe's Eccesiological Vision
Below are the first two paragraphs of a "Vision Statement" that Pastor Rich Bledsoe has written for his church in Boulder:
About every 500 years, the church undergoes a radical paradigm shift. Almost 500 years ago, Martin Luther sparked the Reformation in reaction to the Roman Catholic Church. This spawned numerous denominations, and split the church asunder. We are now near the end of that era, and God is beginning to do something new. The church, which has been split in order to preserve the truth, is now being re-united in order to restore universality. What was gained in the Reformation is now being taken up into a larger covenant renewal. It appears that the means whereby God is recreating His church is as a METROPOLITIAN CHURCH as opposed to a DENOMINATIONAL church. This is closer to original New Testament picture. In the New Testament, the church is referred to as "the church at Ephesus," or "the church at Rome," or "the church at Corinth," even though it may have been comprised of many individual congregations. Likewise, the church is once again moving toward becoming a metropolitan church. We must begin to view the church as "the true city within the city" and the leadership of the church are the true bishops of the whole city.
For what it's worth, this is identical to my own ecclesiological vision.
A thousand years ago, St. Patrick, and many other missionaries entered demon infested lands populated by pagans who animistically worshipped the gods of the forest. The missionaries offered protection against the fierce and terrible gods that enslaved the people. Today, the bishops of each city must offer protection against the new gods. The background is no longer the dark forest or jungle, but the jungle of modern city. Demons no longer inhabit rocks and trees, but the "works of our own hands," our modern technology and our rational constructs. Modern people, both the man on the street and the leader of the city, need new spiritual protection, orientation and direction, and the church and its leaders are those who offer all of this now, just as the early missionaries did in their own context. We do not believe that denominations are going to disappear, but that they are going to become less significant as God does a new thing in the city with the metropolitan church.
jon :: link :: comment ::