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A minor


Saturday, August 9, 2003

Braaten Quote 2

Here's the conclusion to the lengthy quote I posted previously from Carl Braaten's Mother Church:

The Holy Spirit is the personal presence in the church of God's eschatological future in Christ. He is the Paraclete, the promised comforter. Can we deny that Christians have often appropriated the Paraclete to keep themselves comfortable in the establishment - as long as it favors them? The Spirit has often been invoked as a nonrevolutionary principle in the church, keeping it quiet and submissive. The church must be on guard lest the appeal to the Spirit becomes a way to keep Christians warm inside their ecclesiastical huddles.

The Spirit, rightly understood, is not a principle of comfort for those who have it made. He is the fire of the spiritual movement that is spreading around the world in the name of Christ and the chief source of inspiration in the advocacy of a world-transforming truth. Literally, parakaleo means "called to the side of." This suggests that we can think of the Spirit as the principle of one-sidedness, not the presider over the lukewarm middle. The Spirit calls people to one side, to take a side; this call can very well spell offense to the trustees of the establishment. In the history of the church, the Spirit has not only been the comfort of the conservatives but also the fire of the radicals. In retaliation, the ruling classes always erect a cross for those who threaten their positions of power and prestige. The Spirit is the defender of those who take up the cause of the Man who died on the cross outside the gate. Thus he became an outsider so that all those outside may be given a place inside the kingdom of God. (pp 57-8)
At least one more Braaten quote to come. Stay tuned.

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