Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Image Bearing Society

N.T. Wright says that the church, at it's essence is to be an Image Bearing Society. Now, that sentence in and of itself is not something that would really make anyone uncomfortable. "Of course," most people would say, "We are to be the body of Christ. Of course, the church should look like Jesus." Wright, however takes it a little further. He has this peculiar habit of wanting to put things in their historical context and tries to envision in light of history and culture how the original hearers or readers would have understood statements and ideas (crazy, I know). He insists that they would have understood this idea in light of Rome, who's leaders(Caesars) put statues(images) of themselves in their colonies so that the people would know what the leader was like. The idea is that, however slowly it may happen, this place (the colony) becomes more like that place (Rome). The implication is that we, as the church, and we as followers of Christ should, as a matter of first importance, bear the image of Christ in the culture that surrounds us. Then, however long it takes, this place (earth) starts to look like that place (heaven). Scripture also refers to the idea that "our citizenship is in Heaven." It should, however, be noted that Rome's primary goal for their colonial citizens was not that they would one day come and geographically reside in Rome itself, but that the colonies themselves would become so much like Rome that you could no longer tell the difference.
AE

4 comments:

Andrew Wing said...

Earth? So like Heaven I can't even tell the difference?

Guess I better grab my white bed sheets and look into buying a harp.

But seriously speaking of Rome, the Pope's not doin so hot. They should totally go all 6 Million Dollar Man with him. That way, with his intensely cool cyborg body and glowing red eye(only one though, heightens the effect), dispense both the gospel and hot lead through his chain gun right arm.

"We can rebuild him..."

Anonymous said...

Wren
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Hello from Montreal, Canada.
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Rick said...

challenging article there, because we know too many people who need to be an "image" like that, and don't think of myself in that vain often enough.

not following the whole bionic thing. but if it helps me bring Jesus into the world, i'm for the extra $6mil.

Kenny Payne said...

Maybe that is what Jesus had in mind when he spoke of the "renewal of all things" and what Paul had in mind in Romans 8 when he spoke of creation groaning for redemption. Have you noticed some convergence in your reading and talking about this topic in the past six months? I sure have!