Sunday, 26 August 2012

Against Christianity (Notes 3)

Part 1 - Against Christianity 
Peter Leithart's first section has 23 points to it rather than chapter divisions. This summary will work through it in in chunks [Notes 1]. 

11. The Philippians, so proud of being Roman citizens and so protective of Roman custom, needed to learn to live as citizens of a different commonwealth that placed new demands on its citizens. [cf. Philippians 3:20] 
In short: throughout Philippians, which some identify as one of the least political of Paul's letters, Paul was treating the Church as an alternative to the politico-religious organization of the city and of the empire. 
12. politeuo shouldn't be rendered 'conduct yourself' but rather ' live as a citizen'. 
13. ekklesia echoes the Sinai assembly and the returned exiles; and in Greek it is the assembly of citizens of the polis for decision making and deliberation. So the Church is not presented as another 'sect' or cult that existed under the umbrella of the polis. She was an alternative governing body for the city and the beginning of a new city. 
14. Despite pagan opponents seeing this clearly even in the patristic era 'Christianity' was making an appearance (Church as philosphical club or escape into desert etc.). 
15. If salvation is the re-creation of man through Christ and the Spirit (which it is), then salvation must be restored relationships and communities as much as individuals. If Christ has not restored human community, if society is not 'saved' as much as the individual, then Christ has not restored man as he really is. Salvation must take a social form, and the Church is that social form of salvation, the community that already (though imperfectly) has become the human race as God created it to be, the human race that is becoming what God intends it to be. 

(Against Christianity p16-27)

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