Last night, the students who’d come together twelve weeks ago to begin their Bible School experience, brought it to completion with a graduation supper, and a closing service, honoring both the students and the staff who, together, were the body of Christ in this beautiful part of the world for the past months. I do the last week of teaching because my lectures are on I Corinthians, which is about what it means to be a church, an appropriate topic for just before students leave.
The week was refreshing both because of the students hunger for the word, and because of the conspicuous absence of the fighting between the emergent church and neo-Calvinists. On Sunday the 20th, I’ll share a video about the history of the Protestant church in this village, along with God’s movement of ecumenism between Protestants and Catholics. I must say, the absence of rancor between Catholics and Protestants over here is humbling. Both groups recognize that, within their organizational ranks there are both believers and unbelievers, realizing that institutional loyalty, or loyalty to doctrines beyond the sufficiency and centrality of Christ, are entirely secondary. I wonder if we have anything to learn from this?
These students will scatter, back into churches of many flavors, in many parts of the world. They won’t bring rancor over issues of sovereignty and total depravity. They won’t consider themselves emergent. They just love Jesus, and are trying to love others too. This, of course, is the point isn’t it?
Anyway, I love my job – shepherding a tremendous flock in Seattle, and declaring Christ to the next generation as I travel and teach several weeks a year. I thank the Lord for both worlds, as I’m increasingly convinced that each enhances the other in profound ways.
Cheers! And students… congrats. You blessed me more than you can know this past week.