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    Quotables: Reversed Thunder

    February 9, 2012 by Brandy Vencel
    Reversed Thunder:
    The Revelation of John
    and the Praying Imagination

    by Eugene Peterson

    The gospel is never for individuals but always for a people. Sin fragments us, separates us, and sentences us to solitary confinement. Gospel restores us, unites us, and sets us in community. The life of faith revealed and nurtured in the biblical narratives is highly personal but never merely individual: always there is a family, a tribe, a nation–church. {p. 42}

    “Outside the church there is no salvation” is not ecclesiastical arrogance but spiritual sense, confirmed in everyday experience. {p. 43}

    When St. John turned towards the trumpet voice that commanded his attention, the first thing he saw was seven gold lampstands, “which are the seven churches” to which he was pastor. Then, in their midst, he saw the one “like a Son of Man” who was Jesus, the Christ. Christ is not seen apart from the gathered, listening, praying, believing, worshiping people to whom he is Lord and Savior. It is not possible to have Christ apart from the church. {p. 44}

    There is no evidence in the annals of ancient Israel or in the pages of the New Testament that churches were ever much better or much worse than they are today. A random selection of seven churches in any century, including our own, would turn up something very much like the seven churches to which St. John was pastor. {p. 56} 

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