Thursday, March 02, 2006

Citizenship

Great Lent
The Epistle to Diognetus

The Epistle to Diognetus is to be commended for its appreciation that Christians are "aliens" who "take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners" (Ep. Dio. 5:5). However, in the author's explanation of what this means, he loses important aspects of what it really means to be such: specifically, Christians are not just non-citizens compliant with to the government under which they live, but citizens of heaven, members of the Christian colony on earth. We live here, raising up symbols of resurrection life in the life we share together, and wait for Jesus to come and transform the entire world accordingly. For more on this, you might check out Tom Wright's commentary on Philippians 3:20, reproduced by Michael F. Bird at Euangelion.

So no, I don't think the epistle's notion that the soul is trapped by the body is correct, or that the Church awaits its removal from the earth. Rather, we await our resurrection, and the coming of Christ in glory that brings God's reign to earth in a complete and final way: heaven come to earth.

Ben's commentary
Mike's commentary
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1 comment:

-mike- said...

If the fundies ever read the Fathers, I think they could really abuse this one...