This morning, having coffee with the guys, Ron came up with a turn of phrase I found hilarious:

In the church, but not of the church.

Feel free to use this characterization to judge any of your brothers or sisters who, in your opinion, meet that criterion!

(In trying to link the above quote to scripture, I am confounded and confronted with the possibility that the phrase "In the world, but not of the world" is not actually in the bible?!  The closest I can find is Rom 12:2.  A little help here?) 


9 Responses

  1. I am definitely in the church, but not of it.

    I have a feeling you’re using this phrase in the opposite direction. I embrace it — for reasons that have a lot to do with this

  2. I'm with you there 100% Forester. An old quote comes to mind– "Going to church doesn't make you a christian any more than going into a garage makes you a car."

    Also Rube, I have to say…

    "Feel free to use this characterization to judge any of your brothers or sisters who, in your opinion, meet that criterion!"

    …made me cringe. This sort of attitude is why I am not "of the church." My read of the NT can't really justify this approach.

    Also, regarding your original question, Rube: Check John 15:19. Not exactly what you are looking for but it draws the same line.

  3. Since I know Ruberad personally, I’ll vouch for him and explain that the line that made you cringe was, in fact, tongue-in-cheek — as evidenced by his quoting of Matthew 7:1 on the word “judge.”

    Ruberad is one of the least judgmental people I’ve ever met, which is primarily what touched off our strong friendship during college.

  4. What does Ron’s quip mean?

    I’ll counter the church-car-garage quip with an even older one – and probably more accurate: “He cannot have God for his father who has not the church for his mother.”

    In the world not of the world is of course not in the Bible. But it can be deduced from the Bible. It is your basic “two kingdoms” teaching.

  5. I’ll vouch for him…

    Exactly correct. While amusing, the phrase is definitely more appropriate as a lens against self than as a weapon against others.  Thank God I'm not a Pharisee!  (Oopx, there I go again!)

    Ruberad is one of the least judgmental people I’ve ever met

    [inside joke alert!] I dunno about that… I still think you're going to hell for that leather jacket — definitely a rebellious expression of autonomy!

  6. Good to know, I hadn’t known much of a judgemental stream from Rube, so it tasted funny. It was early on a Monday, so my ability to smell sarcasm wasn’t quite warmed up.

    And Bruce: I’m fighting back a swarm of criticism regarding your Augustine quote–though I’m going to swallow it at the moment pending one question: How do you define “the church?”

  7. The Church: The elect, the people of God, AKA: the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the inheritance of Christ, the new Jerusalem.

    BTW, it was Cyprian not Augustine.

  8. I dunno about that… I still think you’re going to hell for that leather jacket — definitely a rebellious expression of autonomy!

    If that’s what you call judgmentalism, then it’s the complete reverse of what everyone else practices. When we judge others, we see them as inferior to us — whereas I remember you feeling quite intimidated by my Tom Cruise-like studliness. ;-)

    True fact for the rest of the world: when RubeRad and I first met each other, we each thought the other was “too cool” to notice us. It was a strange sort of repulsion, operating as it did through self-disqualification.

  9. True that, my initial look-up had some bad info/memory. The full quote plus context being:

    “He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother; . . . he who gathered elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ” (vi.); “nor is there any other home to believers but the one Church” (ix.).

    His definition of the church is a bit different from yours. This quote is from his book “De unitate ecclesiae” (The Unity of the Church). The main thrust behind this quotation came after Cyprian’s arguments with the Vatican regarding who has the authority to conduct baptisms. His reference is to ‘the one true’ church, and as such, I whole-heartedly disagree with it.

    I put a lot of weight in Jesus words and less in those of the disciples. I believe that: “I am the way the truth the light” is a very simple message and a direct refutation of the idea of the Catholic Saints and the need for intercession and modern ideas surrounding the importance of a formal church (which a large portion of Catholic dogma is based upon.) I believe the formal church is secondary to Jesus direct teachings to the individual.

    Though then I am of a less-common school of thought which believes that God does not tend to speak to those who expect him to (meaning official church leaders.) In the Old Testament he spoke to the least likely listeners (Samuel, Abraham, David, etc.) I have a hard time believing that he would change his tact. That and I tend to agree with Max Weber’s theories regarding the spread of religion and the rationalizing forces of bureaucracy in any form.

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