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>Living Faith: Life in the Kingdom

Pope Shenouda

They propped up Pope Shenouda on his ornate throne, and thousands of Egyptian Christians fought their way into the Abassiva Cathedral just to glimpse him—crowned, seated under a carved visage of Jesus, gowned in sacred vestments, and . . . dead.

Dead at 88, the Copts’ church leader was in his familiar place in Saint Mark’s throne for the last time—for his memorial service.

With all respect to the Copts and their leader, I admit I am not accustomed to the idea of placing dead men on thrones in churches. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that much of the story of historic Christianity has to do with dead men in churches—with thrones thrown into the mix.

There was already dead men and women in the church at Sardis, and Jesus said, “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Rev. 3:1). And since the dawn of the church, there has been dead men like Diotrephes, fond of thrones, and who “love to have the preeminence” (or, literally, who “love being first.”)

While the historic story of Christendom has often been one of religious deadness and dominance, this is not the way within Christ’s true kingdom. But it is true that wherever Christians begin to function in human strength or worldly wisdom, death begins to enter the church.

On the other hand, if there is to be life in the church, it can only come from one source—Jesus. If there is a throne in the church, it must be occupied by only one person—Jesus.

I am not necessarily writing about Pope Shenouda’s memorial service; instead, I am writing about the temptations that each of us face—enshrining dead things in the “temple of God” and calling them spiritual. We can spend five thoughtless minutes with God’s Word, and call it worship. We can wear a guise of devotion at church, and yet house wandering hearts. We can quote Scriptures succinctly, but with the intent to put others down and lift ourselves up. We can display piety, while inwardly scheming for influence and status. In short, we, like Sardis, can have a name that we live, and yet are truly dead.

If there is this kind of death in our lives, the impact of the gospel is to always turn upside-down this embalmed, lifeless spirituality, unapologetically announcing a new life and a new King. Its effect is not death, but life lived “in spirit and in truth”—with healing, deliverance, sight and liberty (John 4:24, Luke 4:18).

Meanwhile, there will always be dead men and dead things on strange thrones in Christian churches.

But where the church, the throne, and all of life belong to Jesus, there will be life!

—Arlin Weaver

3 comment(s)

Thank you for sharing us with this, brother! We must keep Col. 3:2 in order that we would not go astray!

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

God bless! =)

Posted by Puntouch Trivijitkasem on Sat 9 Jun 2012, 10:32am

Why absolutely everything in mennonitism go to bashing christian sects?. Why you find impossible to accept the real world out there is mainly unchristian, that christendom is an exiguous minority, and that really true christians must to be more concerned with EVANGELIZE unconverted people-atheists, muslims, jews, buddhists, hinduists, sikhs, etc.-

You are pathetics.

Posted by eliecer on Sat 30 Jun 2012, 14:00pm

Thanks for your comment, Eliecer.

However, might there be a misunderstanding? If you've read to the last several paragraphs, you'll notice this is not about sects, or about the Copts—who have a long and tremendously interesting history in an often hostile enviroment—but about each of our own hearts. Are there dead things inside our hearts—things we try to pass as spiritual? That's a question that I think every Christian needs to ask, and it's not a question of denomination

We do want this site to be an unapologetic voice toward real, genuine Christianity, and especially toward the Lordship of Christ, but if this post truly reflects something else—bashing others, Christian or non-Christian—then, rest assured, that's sign enough of something dead that needs repented of.

Peace to you!

Posted by Anabaptist Faith on Sat 30 Jun 2012, 17:22pm

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