Re: Faith-Based Schooling

A response to Benjamin’s comment under Keith’s last post:

1) With regards to Luke 17:21, NT Wright has this to say:

It has been read as meaning ‘within you’ in the sense of ‘in your heart, as opposed to in your political or material circumstances’: that is, the kingdom is an inward, not an outward reality. It has also been read as meaning ‘in your midst’: that is, the kingdom is already present, here among you. Of these two, the latter is closer to the meaning we would have guessed from the rest of Jesus’ work. But philologically the meaning is most likely to be a third option: ‘within your grasp’. ‘If you had eyes to see,’ Jesus seems to be saying, ‘you could reach out and take hold of the new reality that is already at work.’ This reading is backed up by the following verses (17.22-37). Judgment is coming, and the presence of the kingdom does not mean automatic benefits for those who presume upon them as of right. Rather, it means an opportunity to be seized while there is still time. (Jesus and the Victory of God, 469)

So I think we should be very wary of trying to read an entirely private, individual “kingdom” out of this text. It is certainly something different from the average political kingdom, but not because it is entirely internal and individual.

2) I think it ignores a fairly common strand in the bible, even in the NT text, to say there is no division between the “city of man” and the “city of God”: e.g., 1 Cor. 10:20-22, 15:32-34; 2 Cor. 14-18; Psa 1; Eph 5:5-17; Philippians 3:20; 1 Pet 2:9-12; 1 John 2:15-17; James 1:27; and 1 Cor 5 which nicely walks the line between no communal order and ghettoization: the church must be a distinct society morally from the world, but it must not cease to reach out to the world. Further, Philippians 1:27, “Only conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” contains the verb politeuo, from the same root as polis, which must mean something like “to live as a citizen”, and thus gives us an explicit imperative to be a distinct city.

I think we need to keep that balance from 1 Cor. 5 in mind when we live our lives, and especially when we educate our children: they are to be raised to be ready to serve Christ in the world, but as they are being raised they should not be raised by the world.

Edit: It’s alright Keith, we said different stuff 😛