What Would Happen?

Steven McAlpine:

At one stage [Imago Dei, the image of God] was the byword (words?) among missional groups and in every funky church planting book. The future of ministry was Imago Dei. We were all going to do mission that honoured the reality that all humans are made in the image of God.

Something has derailed that and dumped Imago Dei in the same bargain bin as those rose gold tap fittings.

I blame politics.  Or at least the increasing tendency for the growing schism in Western politics to draw Christians along with their increasingly fractious divisions.  Simply put Imago Dei, taken to its logical conclusion, threatens political positions on both the Left and the Right and exposes them both as having deep strains  of hostility towards the gospel.

Imago Dei demands a commitment to created humanity’s dignity, value and worth at three crucial points in time.  In fact it requires all three of these boxes to be ticked in terms of ethical issues in the public square.  Issues relating to:

  1. The start of life
  2. The middle of life
  3. The end of life

Pretty simple really, but with profound and personal consequences. To truly be committed to Imago Dei across all three Christians will lose friends either Left or Right. At the very least our allies on many political matters should be confounded by us.  We should throw their neat parameters into confusion.  They should increasingly question us or view as not quite kosher/halal or whatever.

Lost friendship is increasingly going to be the cost. Mind you in the scheme of Church history that’s not a particularly high cost to pay, even if it stings a little at the time. The fact this is so also shows that losing our lives for the sake of the gospel is not even on our radars.

Of course we reveal our biases, when pushed upon, view our leaning as Christians on certain ethical positions as being nuanced or “complex” and the positions we are opposed to as being  black and white or “simple”.

HT: JS

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.