Updated: Jul 12, 2020
By Les Henson.
There is nothing particularly special about the church. It has no glory of its own. In light of the recent child abuse scandal that has impacted many church denominations as well as secular institutions around the world, it is difficult to make any claims of moral goodness. Although the church has exhibited such qualities at times. Indeed, the church has no monopoly on truth, and any truth claims must be expressed with a high degree of humility and without arrogance in the post-truth society in which we live.
There is nothing special about the concrete church in all its messiness that should automatically expect to be respected. Neither should it be expected to be loved by the world. The only thing we can boast about, as the people of God, is ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified.’ The reality is that God called us not to witness concerning ourselves as the church but only to Jesus our crucified, risen and ascended Lord. Sometimes we do it well, and at other times we fail miserably. From the world’s perspective to live a life of witness to Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is irrational, fantastical, and it is complete utter foolishness. Yet, this is at the heart of what it means to be a disciple.
Likewise, the concrete churches claim to uniqueness rests in its Spirit-empowered orientation to Jesus Christ and through him, to the triune God and to the fact that we are guided by the Scriptural witness and by the Spirit to be the uniquely explicit witness to Jesus of Nazareth. However, we should not expect any such claims to hold sway out there in the world. It is wiser not to make any such claims. Instead, we should do what God called us to do and proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified by whatever means that are at our disposal and let the chip lie where they fall.