Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Love is the only "definition" of God given in the Bible. Beginning with the Exodus, this biblical God acts in liberation: He is above all the Liberator par excellence. He condemns sin and the powers of evil because they alienate humanity. Even in the Old Testament, where God's power is often emphasized, it is never, never presented by itself. Every proclamation of power is associated with (and often surrounded by) a proclamation of love, pardon, an exhortation to reconciliation, an affirmation that God's power acts for people and never against them...

... Here again we discover a major distortion stemming in part from the institutionalization of the Church (which went from being an assembly of people united only by love, in the same faith, to being an organization with power). As the institutionalization of the Church hardens so does its dogmatism: truth considered as a possession (in which case it ceases to be truth) leads to judgment and condemnation. Love when institutionalized produces authority and hierarchy

Thus the Church was the joyous outcome of the unity of believers confident of their salvation, as they met together and showed forth God's love. But it became a structure, a custodian of authority and truth, representing God's power on earth. "No salvation outside the Church" originally meant that those who recognized that Jesus Christ had saved them met together to give thanks (thus, outside the Church, there were no people living this faith). But the phrase came to mean that all those who are outside the framework of the Church are doomed! This reversal of meaning is quite a serious matter.

Jaques Ellul from Jesus and Marx chapter, "Anarchism and Christianity".

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