Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Real Church Is a Peace Institute

A recent Sunday morning at Redeemer
I am slow-cooking in the deep wisdom God has given Henri Nouwen. His book The Road to Peace is beautiful. Nouwen is one of my constant companions on the road of life. I could just keep posting extended Nouwen quotes on Jesus and the spiritual life, for few people are able to express such things as clearly as he does.

Here Nouwen writes of the necessity, for every Jesus-follower, of being a peacemaker.

"Peacemaking can no longer be regarded as peripheral to being a Christian. It is not something like joining the parish choir. Nobody can be a Christian without being a peacemaker. The issue is not that we have the occasional obligation to give our attention to war intervention, or even that we should be willing to give some of our free time to activities in the service of peace. What we are called to is a life of peacemaking in which all that we do, say, think, or dream is part of our concern to bring peace to this world. Just as Jesus' command to love one another cannot be seen as a part-time obligation, but requires our total dedication, so too Jesus' call to peacemaking is unconditional, unlimited, and uncompromising. None of us is excused!"

Of course, correct? Because....

  • God is a God of peace. (Romans 15:33; 16:20; et. al.)
  • Christ is the Lord of peace who gives peace. (2 Thess. 3:16)
  • The good news is the good news of peace. (Ephesians 6:15)
  • The mindset of the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
  • Peace is an eschatological reward. (Romans 2:10)
  • The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
  • Peace is the goal for human relationships. (Romans 14:19; Eph. 4:3; 2 Tim. 2:22)
  • Peace is the foundation for problem solving. (1 C or. 7:15; 14:23)
  • The fruit of the Spirit is peace. (Gal. 5:17)
  • Peace guards our hearts (Phil. 4:7) and rules in them (Col. 3:15).

The event of the cross was an act of destruction (walls of hostility destroyed) that brought about reconciliation (with God and people), leading to a new humanity (Ephesians 2). This is so central, so paramount, to real Christianity that New Testament scholar Klyne Snodgrass tells us the Real Church is a peace institute.