c) 2012' name='copyright'/>Michael DeShane Hinton: Re-forming the Church

Friday, August 17, 2012

Re-forming the Church


I’ve been recovering from surgery lately subsequent to a boating accident that nearly killed me years ago.  I am reminded of my theme that the body, though wonderful in its recuperative powers, is the weakest and most problematic of our parts.  As Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

It’s impossible to emphasize too much in this day and age how the New Testament is based on Greek philosophical dualism.  We cannot appreciate as we ought the miracle of the Incarnation or God’s condescending love toward us without first positing the enmity between flesh and spirit.  “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” says Paul (1 Corinthians 15:50) and:

Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 ESV)

That being said, I had an interesting conversation with my surgeon last week.  We agreed that there must be some form of intelligence that operates in our bodies on the cellular level and in knitting together damaged tissue.  In other words, our body is not a machine but a living organism in which, as Paul, again, notes, the various parts are intricately linked: the church, or Church, or both, depending on your ecclesiology, is the body of Christ.  In a play on words Paul speaks of each individual Christian being a member of the body.  So just as the physical body has a way of mending itself there must be a way for individual Christians to know what the larger community of believers needs, working as a whole.

That intelligence comes to us through the Spirit and expresses itself in words that we must communicate to each other in preaching, teaching, prophecy, administration, and fellowship.

This is what I am hearing.  I do not trust the emerging church movement.  I think the appropriate word is the reform of existing structures.  The surgical procedure I just endured was called a revision.  The doctor worked on the leg that I have.  He said to me, “Dr. Lhowe had to play the hand he was dealt and I had to work on what was presented to me.”  Both doctors did a wonderful job.  I would almost want to use that word, revision, because I expect great things as a result of this painful procedure.  But historically we know and understand that the Church is in constant need of re-form because of the tendency of the flesh to be weak, sinful, and corrupt.

2 comments:

Gary Mauldin said...

Michael I think what you have bumped into is Gregory Bateson's idea of Mind as a cybernectic system. The world as we know it is not limited to the skin. We are all hard wired to the world and persons around us. Spontaneos healing is a natural phenomena and is in all of us. We are all connected in a manner we cannot explain or have words to talk about. Glad healing is coming to you. In fact it is all around you. I miss our good conversations. Gary.

Michael DeShane Hinton, M.Div. said...

Gregory is way late to the game, Gary. That the world is connectd through the mind/word of God is both a Hebrew and Greek philosophical concept. The Stoics, for instance spoke of the LOGOS, or divine logic of the universe, and John said it was incarnate in Christ. Kant picked up on the idea of NOUS, the living mind of mankind, from the Greeks and spoke of practical reason that permeates all thngs and can be accessed by the rational mind and some forms of social intuition. Why, for instance, is America, which aborts its children by the millions, being invaded by millions of those that love theirs? They are guided by a form of reason, which some call natural law: reject evil; seek and do the good AND whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.