Sunday, February 15, 2004

from a review on Dave Andrews Christi-anarchy at Jesus radicals:

Dave Andrews describes himself as "a bit of an activist." As such he does not seem to wrestle with this activism as Ellul and Vernard Eller have (and have caused me to do!) He simply assumes that "activism" is what Jesus calls his followers to do. At times in the book he explicitly addresses the activists not to lose hope, etc and it seems as if the word almost is used interchangeably with "Christi-Anarchy." John Howard Yoder made helpful distinctions of the different ways in which the church responds to the world, 1) the activist church 2) conversionist church and 3) the confessing church. I think this book would have been much stronger if he had defined more clearly this activism and taken into account Yoder's distinctions.

The activist church, which looks like many liberal protestant and conservative Evangelical churches, looks outward seeking to make the world a better world rather than a better church. The activist church joins movements already in existence because it sees God at work in all movements of social and political change.

The conversionist church, which also looks like Evangelicalism including YWAM, looks inward. It is the soul of the person that matters. The social structures of society cannot be changed because of the power of sin. Sinful people cannot embody the example of Jesus in their own lives. So what happens is that they end up underwriting whatever regime happens to be in power, because it can't be changed. They try to choose the lesser of the evils, but still do evil!

The confessing church rejects both of these models. It is not a middle ground that synthesizes the thesis (activist) and antithesis (conversionist) models. The confessing church model rejects the equation of being faithful with being effective (which means that both conversionist and activist church's set at least one principle above simply being the church.) The confessing church seeks to simply be an alternative community, to worship Jesus Christ at all cost. Dave Andrews could have used this distinction to show that his new vision seeks to convert people to these alternative "anarchist" "self-directed" "intentional communities" and to influence the world by being such an alternative community.

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