Think locally …

From an old Biblical Horizons newsletter by James Jordan on rediscovering the concept of parishes and the local church:

The Biblical conception of the Church is geographical, not ideological. In America today, we drive past twenty churches to get to the one we “agree” with. This situation cannot be reformed overnight, but we need to start thinking the way the New Testament does. We need to recover the parish concept of the Church.

Biblical government in the Old Testament is intensely local: elders over tens, then fifties and hundreds, and then thousands. The “elders of the gate,” who tried capital cases, ruled over populations of only a few thousand, about the size of a large subdivision in our of our cities — about the size of a political precinct. The New Testament view of the Church is the same: the Church in a place, taking dominion over a parish, over a precinct.

The local Church must see herself as the True Governor of the neighborhood or precinct in which she meets on the Lord’s Day. Whether the people up the street worship at that Church or not, they are still part of the parish of that Church in one sense. We must reacquire a dominion-consciousness about our parishes. Neighborhood people must be prayed for, invited to Church bazaars and festivals, and the like.

Unfortunately, Christians today are all concerned about national and international affairs, or state and city affairs, all of which are “too big for us” (Ps. 131). We say that we want local government and that we are against big government, but when we act and pray, we give the lie to this.

Thus, we are sending a signal to our slaves (rulers) that we think Babelically instead of locally, and that is how we are badly ruling our world today.

Jordan is too excitable here, expressing what I think is most likely a faulty dilemma. And yet there is much food for thought.