I was listening to a lecture today by Dr. Mark Alan Powell
as I drove a patient of mine around to do some errands. It is not a usual thing for me to drive patients around, but this was a special situation, and the PT needed help. So as she went in and out of stores picking up items for the home, I sat in my car and listened to a lecture, which is one of my favorite things to do (besides watching Ohio State football of course).
Without going into the whole lecture, let me talk of one point made about the modern protestant understanding of Jesus' presence with the Christian. Powell correctly noticed that it is common within protestant circles to use language something like, "Jesus lives within my heart", when describing the relationship between a believer and Jesus. Powell notes that it is more correct to say, "I am in Jesus", as the apostle Paul said, rather than "Jesus is in me". Of course there are going to be those that quote the verse, "your body is a temple of God", but Powell anticipates this by showing that the context of that verse most definitely shows that Paul was speaking primarily about a congregation of people, not an individual.
The point Powell made was that Christianity has been in many ways influenced by the focus on the individual when the scripture is most undoubtedly focused on the communal. Powell correctly recognizes that within scripture the emphasis is on the plural not the singular. Meaning that to be a Christian is a communal act, opposed to a private individual set of beliefs.
What does the church look like that lives this out?
Labels: community, individualism, Jesus, salvation, soteriology