Saturday, December 16, 2017

Niebuhr: the way of reform movements

Saturday, December 16, 2017
    At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
    —Matthew 24:10-13 (NIV)
    Institutions can never conserve without betraying the movements from which they proceed. The institution is static, whereas its parent movement has been dynamic; it confines men within its limits, while the movement had liberated them from the bondage of institutions; it looks to the past, [although] the movement had pointed forward. Though in content the institution resembles the dynamic epoch whence it proceeded, in spirit it is like the state before the revolution. So the Christian church, after the early period, often seemed more closely related in attitude to the Jewish synagogue and the Roman state than to the age of Christ and his apostles; its creed was often more like a system of philosophy than like the living gospel.
    ... H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), The Kingdom of God in America, New York: Harper, 1959; Wesleyan University Press, 1988, p. 168 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 24:10-13; 10:22; Mark 13:13; 1 Cor. 1:8; Heb. 10:39; Rev. 2:4-5; 3:15
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, continue to breathe life into Your church.
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