Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Otherworldliness

"In the Old and New Testaments, the moments of great impact in the world were never those in which the people of God became indistinguishable from those in their world. When this happened it was a moment of spiritual debauchery. In order to influence the world, the people of God have to be quite different from it cognitively and morally. The irony is that to be relevant, the church has to be otherworldly; and when this spiritual otherness is extinguished by the ache for this-worldly acceptance, it loses the thing that it wants above all else—relevance. The church eventually discovers, to its great dismay, that it has lost its voice and no longer has anything left to say. That is the discovery that now seems to be looming ahead of the evangelical world. It is the iceberg that awaits the Titanic as those on board persuade themselves of their invincibility and pass the days in partying." (David F. Wells)

How does one become otherworldly and not live like you're in another world? It's an unending tug-of-war, to be in the world and yet not of it. What David Wells calls being different and otherworldly, Scripture describes as being holy. Now there's a scary word. Bishop J.C. Ryle says it is the habit of thinking after God's thoughts, "being of one mind with Him."

2 comments:

The Hedonese said...

May we live in the tension of being otherworldly, counterculture pilgrim in the here-and-now, 'above all earthly powers'...

David BC Tan said...

or you could say, in order for a spring to function there's got to be tension in its coils