Derek is reading Ellul. He say:
Here is a quote I found interesting from Ellul - talking about the point at which the church started to become "successful."
"In the fourth and fifth centuries, then, we see a slide away from love and grace to service and "social action." But this completely changes the Christian perspective. And it correlates with the rise of the institution, the break between a clergy of priests and a laypeople, and the nce within the church of the rich and powerful. A break also comes between those who show a concern for others, who tender service, who give expression to charity, and those with whom they are concerned, who are the occasion of charity, to whom they render service. This was the real break in the church. flow, under these conditions, could it maintain a theology or even more so a practice of nonpower? Certainly everywhere in the church there are examples of the rich who give up all things, who become poor for God. They did exist. But in doing this, they either chose the hermit life and withdrew from the life of the church, or they were canonized and held up as miraculous instances of sanctity, that is, they were excluded from the concrete life of the church, set outside the church as "saints" whom, of course, there was no question of ordinary people ever imitating."
Up until the point of the church's worldly success, it was love and grace, brother and sister. But one of the problems of the sudden influx of the masses, was that issues of power entered the church, and instead of adopting Christ's perspective on power (upside-down kingdom) they embraced the world's and this created a rift between the serving and the served. They stepped out of community and into institutions.
I found the "saint" stuff interesting as well. I did not know how far back the concept went - of only certain "super-christians" being called to community with the poor. It seemed like in the kingdom-living of Christ, it was simply part of being the church, and not a special calling for special christians.