I came a cross a wonderful quote this morning from J C Ryle…
Ignorance of the real meaning of the law is one plain reason why so many do not value the Gospel and content themselves with a little formal Christianity. They do not see the strictness and holiness of God’s ten commandments. If they did, they would never rest till they were safe in Christ.
Todd Hunter reveals a startling error in how we think about church; Church is NOT the place we go once a week to worship. Church is, should be, the launch pad for our spiritual life and practices.
Church should not be something we DO but something we LIVE. This is the core of what Hunter outlines in this book.
One of the most vivid illustrations which Hunter gives is that of baseball! The baseball team talk about various hitters and how to pitch to each person, knowing where they tend to hit and how they can position their catchers. The team talk is important, very important, but it is not the game! For Hunter Church is the team talk. It should be preparing us to go out and live in the 167 hours of the week that we are not in Church.
So Church and all that it is, the liturgy, the reading of scripture, the offering, communion,the benediction should be launch pads for our own spiritual practices in the world as we go as ambassadors of Christ to live the work he has called us to do.
What is wonderful about Hunter’s thesis is that it does not hold out one particular model of church as right, or more conducive, while at the same time, he emphasis the importance of Church and it’s role in our lives as believers. In fact the issue of style, or method is irrelevant. The issue is are we going OUT to live the life of the Church using the spiritual practices which the church embody and encourage us to do.
A fascinating read.